A clash of heads between Aston Villa team-mates Anwar El Ghazi and Tyrone Mings during their 0-0 draw with West Ham was “put to bed at half-time”, said captain Jack Grealish.
Defender Mings shouted at El Ghazi for not tracking back, and the winger pushed his head into Mings’ face.
Referee Mike Dean and the assistant video referee decided not to send off the Dutchman.
“That’s a heat-of-the-moment thing,” manager Dean Smith told BBC Sport.
Grealish told Sky Sports: “As soon as we got in at half-time, it was put to bed and they shook hands. We said that can’t be happening on the pitch and said as soon as we left the dressing room, everyone had to be together.
“I did say to the ref ‘what are you even checking for?’ but he said he had to. Emotions were running high but it was nothing and it was squashed in the changing room.”
Team-mates can be sent off for fighting, as famously happened to Newcastle pair Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer in a game against Villa in 2005, but the officials decided El Ghazi’s actions did not warrant a red card.
Smith said he “didn’t need to” do anything at half-time as “the players had dealt with it”.
“That is the group of players I have got,” he said. “There is a great togetherness in the dressing room, with a great team spirit. It went over the edge of what we want.
“But the players dealt with it swiftly and I am happy for them to do that. We are playing a team sport. It is competitive and there will be heat-of-the-moment things that happen.
“I expect players to take responsibility. There is a limit you can’t step over. We’ve got a really good leadership group and they sort that out themselves.”
He said he did “not really” worry that El Ghazi was going to be sent off. “I have stopped trying to work out what the officials’ decisions will be,” he said.
“Anwar has a little bit of red mist in him, like most professional footballers. It is one of those things.
“I didn’t think of taking him off. That is the end of it. It won’t get brought up again.”
Villa moved out of the relegation zone with the point, while West Ham – who had Arthur Masuaku sent off for two bookings – missed the chance to move into the top three.