Sheffield United: “100 per cent credit to Marcelo Bielsa” – Blades boss Chris Wilder praises Leeds United rival for making ‘right call’ by letting Aston Villa score in fiery Elland Road clash

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, praised Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa for his actions during the Whites’ fiery 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Elland Road.

By danny.hall1
Sunday, 28 April, 2019, 17:02

Wilder’s Blades saw automatic promotion confirmed to the Premier League when Leeds failed to take all three points from play-off rivals Villa.

Leeds took a 72nd-minute lead in controversial fashion through Mateusz Klich after they had refused to kick the ball out of play despite Villa forward Jonathan Kodjia lying prone in midfield.

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Villa's players reacted furiously and in a mass melee that followed, defender Anwar El Ghazi was shown a straight red card by referee Stuart Attwell for swinging an elbow at Leeds striker Patrick Bamford, though the contact was minimal.

Chaos ensued as rival players and benches squared off in heated debate before Bielsa instructed his players to allow Villa to walk in an equaliser from the restart, with Albert Adomah tapping home an equaliser – despite defender Pontus Jansson’s apparent efforts to stop him.

And the Blades boss applauded the stance of his rival manager.

Chris Wilder of Sheffield United gestures to the fans: James Wilson/Sportimage

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“Watching the game today, absolutely 100 per cent credit to Marcelo Bielsa,” Wilder said.

“Not 100 per cent credit to Patrick Bamford, by the way, but all credit to Marcelo.

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“He’s a true football man there and he made the right call; obviously it’s gone against them but it was the right call.”

Leeds United's manager Marcelo Bielsa: Clint Hughes/PA Wire.

For his part, Bielsa played down the instruction.

"The facts are those which everyone could see," Bielsa said.

"What happened happened and we behaved as we behaved. That's all I can say about something which is very clear."

When asked if he had instructed his players to allow Villa's equaliser in the interests of fair play or simply to help restore order, Bielsa said: "I don't understand the difference. I don't see any difference.

"What happened happened and we reacted the way we reacted. You make a difference between fair play and the circumstances of the game, but for me it's the same.

"English football is known around the world for its noble features of how we play."

Bielsa appeared angry with defender Pontus Jansson, who clearly did not agree with his manager's decision as he attempted to stop Adomah scoring.

"Jansson didn't want to obey the indication I gave," Bielsa added. "That diminishes my authority and I don't know what the consequences are when you lose respect from a player."