Ollie Watkins feels his celebration after scoring Aston Villa’s late winner at former club Brentford was “only right” after a Bees fan abused him “all game”.
The hosts opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time through Keane Lewis-Potter but, after Ben Mee’s 71st-minute red card, goals from Alex Moreno and Watkins saw Villa turn the game on its head.
Watkins’ celebrations sparked an on-field melee, with Ezri Konsa and Saman Ghoddos yellow-carded during the ruckus before Boubacar Kamara was also dismissed deep into stoppage time following a scuffle with Yehor Yarmoliuk.
“It was a feisty game and it spurred from my celebrations after I scored,” Watkins told Sky Sports.
“That’s not down to the lack of respect to the Brentford fans but there was one individual who was abusing me all game so I felt like it was only right to celebrate in front of him.
“It was directed to him and that caused a reaction in the last 15 minutes.”
Villa called for the matter to be investigated.
The club posted on X: “Aston Villa FC wants to express its support for Ollie Watkins and, with the utmost respect for the big majority of Brentford fans and for the club, we ask the authorities to investigate this incident to find this individual.
“Zero tolerance to abuse in football.”
Bees head coach Thomas Frank added: “Ollie and I went to each other after the game and he said there was a situation with a fan.
“I know Ollie is a top person of top integrity.”
Referee David Coote showed 10 yellow cards to players in total, with Frank and Villa boss Unai Emery also cautioned during an intense affair in west London.
The victory extended high-flying Villa’s unbeaten Premier League run to six games and kept them within a point of Arsenal, but Emery acknowledged his players need to control themselves better going forward.
“Our behaviour is usually fantastic but today it was not good and I need to explain to the players how we should react when under pressure and in circumstances,” he said.
“We don’t want this behaviour. There were two red cards in a very tight result and I think we were under pressure and were trying to control our minds.”
France midfielder Kamara is now set to miss Villa’s festive fixtures against Sheffield United, Manchester United and Burnley through suspension, much to the frustration of Emery.
“The big problem today is the red card of Kamara,” the Villa manager said. “This is the biggest problem for us.”