An angry Garry Monk accused Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner of lacking “humility, respect and class” after a derby defeat at the John Smith’s Stadium ended in a touchline brawl.
Fighting broke out between players and staff as Huddersfield celebrated a 90th-minute goal from Michael Hefele which condemned Leeds United to a 2-1 defeat. Wagner reacted by running through Monk’s technical area to join a group of his players who were huddled together in one corner of the ground. A collision between him and Monk as the German returned to his dug-out sparked a melee in front of the tunnel and led referee Simon Hooper to send both head coaches to the stands.
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Monk, who served a one-game touchline ban after his dismissal at Bristol City in September, and Wagner are likely to be sanctioned by the Football Association for their role in the scuffle but the Leeds boss pointed the finger of blame at Wagner and claimed United should face no charges for their involvement.
“I can only speak for myself,” Monk said. “I hold the highest values in my life – humility, respect and class. That’s what I hold highest and I make my players hold that. If someone doesn’t want to act like that then that’s their prerogative. It doesn’t mean that we all have to agree with it. That’s all I can say about the situation.
“My technical area is my technical area, whether I’m home or away. You behave properly in those situations but when someone comes across and they run into you, what can I do about that? I’m not making a big deal out of it but I can only speak about the values I hold myself to and hold my team to. I make sure I respect those values for them.”
Monk, who appeared to deliberately step into Wagner’s path as the Huddersfield boss ran past him, played down the threat of punishment from the FA.
“We weren’t the ones who were (doing) anything bad,” Monk said. “You have to ask them the values they were fighting for. The referee just said ‘can you go to the stand’. That’s it. No problem if that’s what you think. He seemed to have more of a conversation with the other manager then he did with me.”
Wagner claimed his reaction to the winning goal was due to him “growing up in a different football culture” in Germany and said Monk had caused the brawl by colliding with him.
“I have a different opinion but this is because I grew up in a different football culture,” Wagner said. “In Germany it’s respectful if you celebrate with the players. But I am in England and I have to respect the British football culture.
“What for me is disrespectful in Germany, and I think in England as well, is if you try to battle your opponent manager.
“This is disrespectful in my opinion and this is a lack of a respect.”
Hefele’s goal came at the end of a fascinating derby which saw Huddersfield complete home-and-away wins over Leeds for the first time since 2009. United fought back from an early goal from substitute Izzy Brown to equalise through Chris Wood but Town carried more threat in attack and Hefele struck late on after an Aaron Mooy shot deflected to him. The result moved Town above Leeds in the Championship’s play-off zone.
“I can’t be critical of my players,” Monk said. “I’m very proud of them.
“To come away to a very good side and at a difficult place to play and put that type of committed performance – I felt gutted for them. But it doesn’t change anything for us. We’re a good team and we’re improving with time.
“Small margins will decide a game and with their second goal, where it deflects into the path of the lad who scores, you need to be on the right side of those.
“We were extremely unlucky and we didn’t deserve to lose.”
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