| 13.6°C Belfast

Pedersen defends penitent Barton

Joey Barton

Morten Gamst Pedersen has welcomed a personal apology from Joey Barton and insisted he has no problem with the Newcastle midfielder.

Barton is serving a three-match ban after punching Blackburn's Pedersen in the stomach during Rovers' 2-1 victory at St James' Park last week.

The 28-year-old issued a statement of apology before phoning the Norwegian on Friday, and Pedersen has told the Lancashire Telegraph: "I couldn't answer the phone at that moment but he left a nice message on my answering machine and I called him up the minute we had finished our team meeting."

He added: "Joey shows that there is more to him than what came out on the pitch the other day, and I really appreciate it. It's not everyone who has the courage to call to apologise after such an episode, but Joey did without hesitation.

"Both me and Joey are professional and fully agree to put this behind us, and that we can laugh about the whole thing next time we meet."