Friedel - No Dunne bust-up

Villa keeper plays down reports of internal rift

Dunne: Left out on Saturday

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Brad Friedel has attempted to play down reports that Richard Dunne has clashed with Gary McAllister.

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It had been suggested that Dunne's omission from Aston Villa's starting XI for their meeting with local rivals West Brom on Saturday was a direct result of a bust-up between player and assistant manager.

Some reports even claimed that the angry confrontation had left the rest of the squad shocked ahead of a crunch clash, taking their eye off the ball at a crucial time.

In the end, though, Villa were able to see off the Baggies 2-1 and American goalkeeper Friedel insists the supposed rift between Dunne and McAllister has been blown out of proportion.

He said in the Birmingham Mail: "I never saw a proper bust-up at all, although I know he was left out of the team on Saturday."

While keen to play down that particular spat, Friedel admits there has been a lot of soul-searching in the Villa dressing room of late following a difficult run of results.

Meetings

He added: "We had a couple of meetings, some with the staff and some without the staff.

"It's not time to do a lot of talking among people in a negative manner. It's time for the players to go out on the field and get results.

"Thankfully we did on Saturday and hopefully can do it against Wigan."

Friedel has also sought to ease some of the pressure on Gerard Houllier's shoulders by insisting that the French tactician needs more time to stamp his authority on Villa.

"People are going to have to judge Gerard after he has had a couple of transfer windows and once we have a full complement of players in the squad," he said.

"Some people have made a lot out of nothing. Because of the run we're on, one thing has led to another and he has been under severe pressure from a lot of the fans."