Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce has leaped to the defence of Joey Barton after the midfielder found himself at the centre of a storm following Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth.
Barton was guilty of catching Pedro Mendes on the Achilles tendon late in the first half in an incident which led to the Pompey midfielder being stretched off.
Pompey manager Harry Redknapp was so furious with the challenge he was sent to the stands after storming into referee Mike Dean's dressing room at half-time to vent his anger.
But although Pearce claimed he didn't see the challenge, he defended the actions of his combative midfielder, who made his England debut in the midweek friendly defeat by Spain.
"I have a system that if I think I can improve the way they play and improve players as persons I speak with them," said the City boss.
"But we didn't even talk about this (the Mendes tackle). We are more interested in trying to win a game rather than discussing the merits of a tackle or a non-tackle.
"He's had a smashing week, some great form and got himself an England cap. He will be disappointed for himself and the team and rightly so but in the main I think he has had a good season for us.
"I'm seeing a maturity as a man. I'm seeing a kid who wants to win football matches and who gets frustrated at times when he can't."