NEWS DIGEST – Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has said he has instructed his players not to put the ball out of play if an opponent is injured.
The Argentine coach said his players must wait for the referee to stop play during their English Championship playoff semi-final against Derby County on Saturday.
The decision comes after Leeds United’s controversial goal against Aston Villa earlier this month.
That was when Mateusz Klich did not kick the ball out of play and scored moments after Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia had suffered an injury and needed treatment.
The goal sparked a melee which led to Aston Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi being sent off for his role in the protests.
Bielsa was forced to calm things down by asking his players to allow Aston Villa to score an equaliser unopposed when the game was restarted.
“We have reached the common decision with the players,” Bielsa said ahead of the first leg match in Derby.
“We decide to adapt 100 percent to the rules and we understand that if we have one player (down injured) we understand that we don’t have to put the ball out of the pitch.
“We also think that if a player from the opposing team is down, we shouldn’t interrupt the play and put the ball out. We all know the person that has to take this decision is the referee.”
Bielsa confirmed he would discuss the issue with match referee Craig Pawson and Derby manager Frank Lampard before the game.
He added that his decision had nothing to do with what happened against Aston Villa in England’s second-tier Championship.
“This has nothing to do with the situation against Aston Villa because we feinted to put the ball out and didn’t,” Bielsa added.
“I’m not talking about that. We just want to find a solution to this moment of doubt.”
The two teams are vying for a place in the playoff final where they will play the winner of the other semi-final between West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa.
The playoff final winner gains promotion to the English Premier League (EPL).(Reuters/NAN)