Richard Keys defends Aston Villa's Joleon Lescott, criticises Collymore

Villa Park 6

Richard Keys feels bad for under fire Aston Villa defender Joleon Lescott.

Ian Wright told BBC Radio 5 Live's 606 on Sunday evening that he found Joleon Lescott's comments after Aston Villa were relegated impossible to defend.

Yet Lescott appears to have found a backer in former SkySports presenter Richard Keys, who feels the centre-back is being unfairly criticised.

Speaking to The BBC after Villa lost to Manchester United, Lescott said: "Regardless of how we played in patches today, we are relegated. But now it's confirmed, maybe it's a weight off the shoulders and we can give these fans what they deserve, some performances."

Lescott's comments were seen as insensitive, and coming from a player who has turned in mixed displays this season, fans were left outraged.

Keys however feels sorry for Lescott, writing on his personal blog that his comments were simply clumsy and meant without malice.

He said: "I criticised him for 'Tweet-gate'. I'm still not having his excuse for that. But - I thought he was unfairly jumped on at the weekend.

"Wearing a Villa shirt recently can't have been easy. His wording about the 'relief' they all feel now that relegation in confirmed was clumsy. I'm certain he didn't mean it they way it was mistaken.

"I guess he probably wanted to say 'we've been poor. Playing recently, with the weight of expectation at this wonderful club, hasn't been easy. We've all felt suffocated at different times. We're down, so let's go out with a flourish and give the fans something to shout about as we start re-building'."

One of the more vocal critics of Lescott has been Stan Collymore, the former Aston Villa striker who is a radio host for TalkSport, and Keys believes the ex-striker is in no position to cast stones.

He said: "Give the fella credit for stopping to talk as he did. He fronted up but got it all wrong. That doesn't make him a 'scumbag'. 

"As for Stan, is he really is a position to point fingers at players who he believes haven't performed to the best of their ability? Come on Stan - I watched your career from start to finish."

Villa have won only three Premier League games all season, with managers Tim Sherwood and his replacement Remi Garde subsequently fired.

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