Marcelo Bielsa explains why he told Leeds to LET Aston Villa equalise

Marcelo Bielsa revealed what led him to make the strange call for Leeds United to allow Aston Villa to score the goal that ended their automatic promotion hopes to the Premier League.

The Yorkshire club had taken a 72nd-minute through Mateusz Klich at Elland Road in their Championship game against fellow promotion hopefuls Villa.

But Dean Smith’s side were a man down at the time as Jonathan Kodjia required medical attention. The visitors desperately called for the game to stop, while their forward was receiving treatment.

Despite their best attempts, however, Leeds carried on with Klich breaking the deadlock in the process. Unsurprisingly, this caused quite the fall-out between the teams afterwards before Bielsa stepped in.

LEEDS, ENGLAND – APRIL 28: Jonathan Kodjia of Aston Villa on the floor injured during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Aston Villa at Elland Road on April 28, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

The Leeds boss, who had been arguing with Villa assistant John Terry, unbelievably told his players to allow Villa to score when play resumed. Albert Adomah then equalised after running through the pitch almost unchallenged by everyone.

The 1-1 draw ended Leeds’ hopes of leapfrogging Sheffield United into second-place and the final automatic promotion spot in the Championship.

But Bielsa explained that he was simply keeping within the spirit of English football by honourably allowing Villa to equalise.

“We just gave the goal back. Everyone saw the facts. We expressed our interpretation of the facts by doing what we did,” the Argentine told Sky Sports.

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“English football is known for this [sportsmanship]. I don’t have to comment on this kind of thing, which is common in England.”

LEEDS, ENGLAND – APRIL 28: Pontus Jansson and goalkeeper Kiko Casilla of Leeds United show their frustration during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Aston Villa at Elland Road on April 28, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

On the incident, Villa boss Dean Smith said: “I asked him, and he went, ‘No, I agree’. I think they all agreed.

“He was apologising, so I said they should let us walk a goal in. They had a talk about it and said ‘okay’. I’m full of respect for them for that.

“Klich’s just apologised to me after the game. He said, ‘I shouldn’t have done that, it’s wrong’.

“But every credit to Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa for giving us the opportunity to put that right.”

Leeds remain in third place in the Championship table and could meet Villa, who are fifth, in the playoffs for the final spot in next season’s Premier League.

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