Charles N’Zogbia has moved swiftly to steer himself off a fresh collision course with Alex McLeish over a controversial interview in his native France.
N’Zogbia was quoted in L’Equipe newspaper claiming to be ‘disgusted’ after a dispute with McLeish following the defeat at Newcastle last month.
But McLeish’s most expensive Villa signing has since insisted he was misquoted and reaffirmed his commitment to the claret and blue cause.
In a club statement, last summer’s £9.5million capture from Wigan insisted he is happy at Villa and wants to repay the manager’s faith in him.
“I would like to clarify because I have not been quoted correctly,” said N’Zogbia.
“The most important point is that I’m very happy to be an Aston Villa player.
“I appreciate that the manager brought me here and I want to repay this by performing well for the club.
“We have been performing well as a team in most of our games and I’m happy to be playing my part.
“I want to contribute. This is a big club with a proud history and I have a great desire to help the club to win.
“That is the attitude the manager wants to see in all of the players here.
“I know now that he did not say this about me – he was saying this about every player – but he wants players to win football games and think about cars and everything else after this. This is my attitude also.
“We spoke together after the game against Newcastle and we have put this behind us. I’m focused on our game against Arsenal this weekend at the Emirates which we will be trying our best to win. We believe in one another.”
N’Zogbia has endured a stop start first season at Villa Park with just two goals and three assists in 21 starts and five substitute appearances.
Having been rested because of poor form earlier in the season, his frustration came to a head following the defeat at Newcastle in early February.
N’Zogbia and McLeish were involved in a heated exchange at St James’ Park and the 25-year-old France international Tweeted he was not enjoying his football.
However, the Villa boss felt he was finally getting through to N’Zogbia and has restored him to the starting line up for the draw at Blackburn and win over Fulham.
Which is why McLeish and the club’s board are eager to draw a line under the latest episode with N’Zogbia less than 12 months into a five-year contract.