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Mar 6, 2013

Delph banned for six-pointers

Fabian Delph has spoken of how disappointed he is that suspension will force him to sit out the critical next two games in Aston Villa's Premier League survival battle.

• Hughes: Pressure increases on Villa

The in-form midfielder, who was named as his side's best player in Monday's defeat against Manchester City, was booked for the tenth time this season in the dying moments at Villa Park.

And his hand-ball offence has earned him a two-game ban at a time when his side can least afford to be without him - for the trip to Reading on Saturday and the visit of QPR the following weekend.

"It's a huge blow to miss these matches," Delph said. "I don't think it was a yellow card to be honest.

"I am not a cheat and I didn't mean to handle the ball. I think I have only deserved three of my bookings. I'm just being brutally honest there.

"I am not a malicious player. I've had a lot of injuries myself, so I would never go to try and injure a player. I think I have won the ball in all of the yellow cards I've received this season."

The former Leeds player admits he might have to tailor his aggression, although he would be in trouble with manager Paul Lambert if he lost all his teeth.

"I have got to look at myself," he added. "Obviously I have let myself down. The gaffer loves that competitive side in all of his players. I think I make fair challenges but I can mis-time some of them. I am only human.

"The game has changed and obviously I've got to change. Football is a lot more technical and a bit more sensible. Refs have got a bit soft and it's something I'll look to curb.

"I don't think I make as many 'guess' challenges as I have done in the past. I pick and choose when I go to ground now.

"Obviously you are playing against world-class players and you can get the ball popped around you. I want to stay competitive but I will try to curb it and hopefully not get booked or cut them down.

"I'm not daft and I do have a think about stuff that I need to work on; not just tackling, but every area of my game.

"There are lots of areas I need to improve. It's not something I am going to write in capital letters and focus on that because if I do that, other areas of my game will suffer.

"I was probably worse when I was at Leeds. It's something I have looked at before. But ten yellows does look bad."

Delph will now be keeping his fingers crossed that Villa can immediately put an end to a run of two successive defeats and turn decent form into better results.

They may well have taken a point off the champions had it not been for the glaring error by acting captain Ciaran Clark that helped gift City their winner through Carlos Tevez.

"As a team, we will put our arms around Ciaran Clark and he's only going to get better and learn from that mistake," he said. "I personally think he (Dzeko) has fouled him.

"The boys played well. I think we have done so over the past few games and that will hopefully stand us in good stead for the next two games, which are both six-pointers.

"I think it is very important we come out firing in like we have in the last two games. There are midfielders here who can step in and do a job. I am sure the team won't miss me too much."

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