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Mutiny in the ranks at Villa

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish was told to "f*** off" by Stephen Ireland during Sunday's defeat at Newcastle, while winger Charles N'Zogbia also hit out on Twitter.

• Newcastle 2-1 Aston Villa

Ireland was replaced at half-time in the game at St James' Park, where he endured a horror spell on loan 12 months ago, and swore at McLeish after being blamed for the opening goal, scored by Demba Ba on the half-hour.

And N'Zogbia was clearly unhappy at being replaced by Emile Heskey in the 67th minute, too. The France winger, who spent five years at Newcastle, tweeted: "First time in my life, I'm not happy playing football."

McLeish tried to play down Ireland's outburst, saying: "I know he spoke back but, at the same time, players don't like to hear the manager screaming at them from the touchline. But I kick every ball. I'm passionate and I care. I wouldn't be so petty to take a player off for something like that if he is doing a fantastic job.

"When Guthrie side-stepped him to put the cross in, I thought Stevie should have been making that tackle or at least put a block on the cross. But it was clear at half-time that he didn't have the capacity to get close to people. He had an ankle problem."


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