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Press article:

Solano accepts his punishment - 28/04/2004

Solano accepts his punishment
   George Boateng
   David O'Leary
   Aston Villa

Aston Villa midfielder Nolberto Solano has admitted that he left referee Graham Barber no choice but to send him off for an incident involving George Boateng.

The Peruvian was given his marching orders during Villa's 2-1 win over Middlesbrough last Saturday for raising his hand to Boateng.

Despite accepting his punishment, Solano insists Boateng made a meal of the incident. The Dutchman, a former Aston Villa player himself, came in for some stinging criticism from David O'Leary for his theatrics.

"I was wrong to raise my hand and I know that," Solano told the club's website. "The referee had no option but to send me off.

"But Boateng should not have reacted as he did and I think the gaffer is right - he is a very good actor and the way he behaved was a disgrace."

Villa, who are still harbouring Champions League ambitions, will have to do without the former Newcastle midfielder for their final two matches of the season - against Southampton and Manchester United.

Meanwhile, O'Leary says he will be looking to sign "at least four players" in the summer as he continues to build his squad.

Villa have lost 12 players since the arrival of the Irishman last year, while veterans Dion Dublin and Ronny Johnsen could also leave for free at the end of the season.

He said: "We do need at least four players in the summer to make us up to a squad of 18 which is not massive in any way - but we'll need that at least."


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