Former Aston Villa forward Garry Thompson has praised Conor Hourihane’s commitment to his teammates after the controversy that overshadowed Villa’s 1-1 draw with Leeds on Sunday.
The debate following the game has centred around five minutes in the second half, where Leeds opened the scoring as Villa attempted to stop the game in order to allow treatment for Jonathan Kodjia, who had gone down injured in the build up to the goal.
That was followed by a skirmish between players from both sides, during which Hourihane appeared to strike Leeds goalscorer Mateusz Klich, although no action will be taken against the Villa midfielder.
Speaking about Leeds’ goal on BBC WM, Thompson, who spent two years at Villa between 1986 and 1988, said: “They’ve actually played like they are going to kick the ball out of play.
“Then he has done a cheeky one down the side and they have nicked the goal. That’s when it all kicks off. You can see all the Villa players relax. I know you’re supposed to play to the whistle, so it’s their fault in one respect. ”
On the issue of Hourihane’s involvement in the melee that followed Klich’s goal, Thompson added: “I have given Conor Hourihane a bit of stick for some of the defending he has done at times. I thought he was magnificent. He was the first one in anytime there’s a ruck.
“I’m not advocating fighting, but he’s the first one in there Always there, backing his teammates.”
Hourihane has been a key contributor for Villa this season, scoring seven and assisting a further ten goals in 42 Championship appearances for the Midlands side this season.
Given Hourihane’s contribution this season, you feel Villa will be rather relieved that he hasn’t been charged over his part in the fracas that followed Leeds’ opener, even if it does seem surprising.
It appeared as though there was contact between Hourihane and Klich, so the midfielder may well consider himself lucky.
As Thompson notes though, his commitment to his teammates will be welcomed in the play-offs, and that team spirit could be vital in the difficult few weeks to come.
Thoughts? Let us know!