Stiliyan Petrov laughs off rift talk at Villa

Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has played down last week’s spat between boss Martin O’Neill and Nigel Reo-Coker.

The pair were involved in a serious argument during training last Thursday and Reo-Coker was then left out of the squad for Saturday’s 2-0 win against Portsmouth.

The former West Ham United star has since apologised for the incident and could return to action in the Carling Cup third round clash at Cardiff City.

Petrov said of the spat:“Things like that happen in football. Everyone in the team is a fighter.

“It happens everywhere in the world. There are 25 people with different characters and sometimes you get clashes like that, but you just keep going.

“The manager knows what he did, Nigel knows what he did. They are grown men. They will straighten things out and then Nigel will be back in the team.

“Nigel is a winner. Things like that happen. We are happy we have players like that. We have players who want to speak, want to fight and want to be a winner, so that is a good thing. These things happen.”

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