London (AFP): Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton has admitted he fights a constant struggle to control his anger after receiving a three-match ban for punching Blackburn’s Morten Gamst Pedersen.
Barton, 28, who has a chequered disciplinary record and who also spent time in prison in 2008 for a violent assault, was slapped with a ban after being caught striking Pedersen in an off-the-ball incident on Wednesday.
The midfielder accepted his punishment without complaint on Thursday and admitted he deserved to be banned, ruling him out of the Magpies forthcoming matches with Fulham, Bolton, and Chelsea.
“Everyone knows I have anger issues and on the pitch people are going to test my temperament,” Barton told the Daily Mail.
“I’m not a changed man because it’s who I am. It’s something inside me, a natural instinct that makes me stand and fight. I just continue to work at it. I’ll always be fighting to curb it and it’s a battle for me. I have these anger issues but I know that when it turns to rage, like it did against Blackburn, it is not acceptable.”
Barton, who has issued an apology to Pedersen, both clubs and to his club’s fans, described his outburst as “a moment of stupidity from me.”
“I shouldn’t have reacted like that even if it was slightly provoked. I can’t condone it and I deserve a ban. I am human but I have made a mistake I regret,” he said.