Caretaker manager Gary McAllister admits Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey was "lucky" not to be sent off after barging into referee Mike Jones during the 1-1 home draw against his former club Wigan.
Heskey was incensed at being denied a free-kick after being on the receiving end of a challenge from Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz. He made contact with the Cheshire official but escaped with a yellow card.
However, McAllister substituted Heskey at half-time "to make sure we finished the game with 11 men".
It is believed Heskey did not stay to watch the remainder of the game, in which Charles N'Zogbia's goal was cancelled out by Ashley Young's free-kick.
McAllister said: "I'm not skipping this issue. I've not seen it. But if Emile did barge into the referee, he is obviously lucky. But it is very uncharacteristic of Emile.
"He was annoyed he wasn't getting protection from the referee. With a couple of balls he had won, the centre-backs came into the back of him. He was looking for a bit of help from the referee, he didn't get it but it was an over-the-top reaction. Knowing him the way I do, someone I admire, a good friend, someone I've played with, that was just not Emile."