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Football | France

Barton hits out at 'cheats' after red card



English midfielder Joey Barton said he had been the victim of "cheats" after being sent off for the first time since joining Olympique Marseille during a defeat to struggling Nancy on Sunday.

The controversial Barton has been on his best behaviour since he made his Ligue 1 debut last November after serving out a 12-match ban for violent conduct in QPR's final Premier League match of last season against Manchester City.

The 30-year-old was back in trouble on Sunday, however, when he picked up two bookings in four minutes for rough tackles on Nancy players just before the hour mark.

Barton, who had received just two yellow cards in his 10 previous French league games, took to Twitter to accuse his opponents of exaggerating the contact to have him dismissed.

"Two very harsh yellows. First one wasn't even a foul," Barton tweeted. "Players who roll around when nobody touches them should be subsequently banned. I hate cheats. Authorities should address it."

Barton was not alone in his view and Marseille coach Elie Baup told a post-match news conference that he thought Barton's dismissal "unfair".

Barton will be suspended for Marseille's trip to lowly Evian Thonon Gaillard next weekend but could face a tougher sanction if summoned by the discipline commission.

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