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28th Apr 2019

Marcelo Bielsa gets mixed response for sportsmanship against Aston Villa

Wayne Farry


People like to say they like sportsmanship

Everyone in football, be they managers, players, fans or journalists, like to make out that they are fully in favour of sportsmanship. People love to say ‘oh you hate to see that’ about certain situations, despite the truth that everyone loves to see whatever ‘that’ is.

We saw quite a lot of ‘that’ during Leeds United’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon. The match was ticking along like any other football match until the match entered the latter stages.

Villa’s Jonathan Kodija then went down with an injury and the away side expected Leeds to put the ball out like good sportsmen. Unfortunately Leeds were more in the mood for shithousing and decided to go up the pitch and score.

This pissed off the entire Villa team and staff, leading to red cards and arguments on the sideline.

In an attempt to right some perceived wrongs and level the karmic field, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa decided to allow Villa to walk in a goal to level things up.

This prompted massive annoyance from his defender Pontus Jansson, who like a lot of other people didn’t see the point in allowing their opponents to have a literal goal.

After the match, it continued to have a mixed reception.

Understandably, Villa manager Dean Smith was very pleased with what had happened, and he thanked both Bielsa and the goalscorer Klich for apologising to him after the game.

“Every credit to Leeds and Bielsa for giving us the opportunity to put that right,” he said.

Other people praised Bielsa too for his sportsmanship and for upholding the honour of the game, whatever that means.

Some people weren’t too impressed though, with many saying that it was Villa’s fault for failing to play to the whistle, something that footballers are told to do from the earliest of ages.