Johnson is not a cheat – Lambert

Bradley Johnson and Joey Barton Joey Barton was dismissed after an off-the-ball incident with Bradley Johnson

Norwich boss Paul Lambert has responded angrily to QPR claims that Bradley Johnson “conned” the referee in the Premier League game at Loftus Road.

Norwich won the game 2-1 after QPR’s Joey Barton was sent off following a clash of heads with Johnson.

Midfielder Barton, 29, and Rangers boss Neil Warnock were critical of Johnson for his part in the dismissal.

But Lambert labelled QPR’s complaints “ludicrous” and insisted: “My player is not a cheat.”

The Scot added: “If you are going to label someone that, then have a bit of substance to it.”

Warnock totally wrong on Johnson – Lambert

Rangers skipper Barton was dismissed on 36 minutes following an off-the-ball incident with Johnson, but claimed the officials never saw the incident.

He proceeded to register his dismay with both the decision and Johnson on social networking site Twitter.

“Linesman definitely never saw it, all he saw was Johnson’s reaction,” wrote the former Newcastle United and Manchester City midfielder. “My head doesn’t move forward at all. Ridiculous decision.”

Warnock was also upset with Johnson’s reaction, adding: “He has not been headbutted at all, not in a million years.

“The movement of him going backwards has conned the referee. To go back like he did was a disgrace. It’s getting a fellow pro sent off.”

But Lambert responded: “If you go face-to-face with someone, there is a chance things can happen. I certainly don’t think it is a full-blooded headbutt. That is not the issue I have a gripe with – it’s the comments after.

“My player is not a cheat. He played with great discipline before and after the incident.

“But those after-match comments were wrong. Maybe when you get beat, you start to look for excuses and end up blaming everybody else.”

QPR’s appeal against Barton’s three-match ban was rejected by the Football Association.