Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner slams Manchester City's pursuit of James Milner

American owner unhappy with City's approach and 'violation of the rules'
Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner has hit out at Manchester City over their pursuit of James Milner and has claimed they have 'violated the rules'.

Lerner claims that Roberto Mancini's side have broken the rules by pursuing their interest in the England midfielder after being told that he wasn't for sale.

He told The Mail on Sunday: "Big, bad Manchester City came along and asked for Milner and we said, 'No, he is not for sale'. And under the rules you have to respect that. Manchester City respected that for two whole days. And then they violated the rules and came in for him again."

Milner played a starring role in his side's 3-0 win over West Ham in their Premier League opener, and sealed his performance with the third goal which was met with a great cheer by the Villa faithful.

Lerner added:  "We are not a selling club. A selling club is when you let it be known that you want to sell a player, through an agent or whatever.

"That didn't happen with Gareth Barry and it didn't happen with James Milner either. As for Ashley Young, he was never going."

Lerner also hinted that caretaker coach Kevin Macdonald will be considered for the permanent role following Martin O'Neill's shock departure last week.

"There are those managers who like the show and the attention - and then there are those such as Kevin," said the American.

"I'm not going to say it is in Kevin's hands now and I would be disappointed if it was reported like that. But much will depend on how Kevin feels, whether he thinks this might be right for him, if he is comfortable with the idea of being Villa's manager.

"He is such a cool guy, he is popular with the players - who really played for him (against West Ham) - and with the fans and the press. We will see how he feels when he wakes up from this and then we will look at the situation from there."

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