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29th Apr 2019

Pontus Jansson explains why he defied Bielsa’s orders against Aston Villa

James Dawson

Jansson has explained his one-man crusade to prevent an act of supreme sportsmanship at Elland Road

Pontus Jansson has explained why he defied his head coach’s decision to let a goal in against Aston Villa on Sunday, after Leeds United scored a controversial goal in the second half.

United went 1-0 up when Mateusz Klich scored a goal following Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia going down in the middle of the pitch. Villa had all but stopped play after Tyler Roberts feigned putting the ball out, before changing his mind and putting the Polish midfielder through.

Six minutes of chaos insued, in which Amwar El Ghazi was sent off after Patrick Bamford dropped to the ground, Bielsa instructed his players to let Villa equalise out of sportsmanship and John Terry squared up to Marcelo Bielsa for some reason. Apparently nobody got the memo about the match being a dead rubber.

As Villa’s Albert Adomah then went to roll the ball into the opposition net from the kick off to take things back to 1-1, Leeds’ defender Jansson then decided to defy his manager’s orders to let the goal in. He didn’t succeed in tackling Adomah, however, and the goal stood – avoiding a potentially Kepa-esque situation ahead of the West Yorkshire club’s play-off run.

After the game Bielsa said of the incident: “Jansson did not want to listen. This diminishes my authority. I don’t know what the consequences are when you lose the faith of the player. This is my ironic response to you.”

Before adding: “My analysis, not everyone accepts destiny in the same way. When you have to give up something so hard to reach.”

And now the Swede has had his say on the incident, explaining that as a defender it was difficult to allow Villa to break the clean sheet.

“I’m a defender, I want to have a clean sheet,” he told the Mirror. “I work hard for 90 minutes to keep a clean sheet and so to let another team score, for me that’s hard.”

Although it’s reported Bamford could still face a post-match ban for going down, Leeds fans will be hoping they can draw a line under the incident and get on with their push to return to the Premier League.

Speaking after the game with the help of his translator, Bielsa said English football is known for sportsmanship and showed no regret over his decision to allow his opposition back into the game.

“We just gave the goal back,” he said. “The facts are what everyone saw and we express our interpretation of the facts by doing what we did.

“English football is well known for sportsmanship so I don’t need to comment on this kind of thing that is common in England.”

He also said his players are ready for the play-offs after a gruelling season, most of which they spent in the automatic promotion places.

“I think so, yes. Today’s events against the most in-form team in the league at the moment puts us close to what our possibilities are.”

With Leeds in 3rd and Villa in 5th, there’s also the spicy prospect of the teams returning to face one-another in the Playoff final.