NEIL REDFEARN is confident that there will be no bad feeling between Leeds United and Norwich City players tonight – after a racism row marred the reverse fixture at Carrow Road.
Back in December, United defender Giuseppe Bellusci was charged following an incident during the 1-1 draw at Norfolk on October 21 when he was alleged to have directed a racial insult at Canaries striker Cameron Jerome.
But an independent regulatory commission dropped the case at a personal hearing in February after Bellusci denied the charge.
The Football Association subsequently published a document outlining the reasons why, revealing the “consistent evidence” put forward by Bellusci led to him being cleared. The 25-year-old Italian had been accused of calling Jerome a “negro” and was also alleged to have made an ‘aggravated breach’ – using a racist term more than once.
But the panel accepted his argument that he said the word ‘nero’, the Italian term for black, in threatening to give Jerome “a black eye”.
Head coach Redfearn said: “That issue got resolved. Both parties seemed happy enough and it got settled. The matter is closed.
“To be fair, we have a real mix of players from overseas with different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. We are really balanced as a group and are aware of things like this. I’d have thought it wouldn’t have been an issue.
“I think the outcome was what everybody wanted. I think everybody got the right outcome, and I think that’s what everybody got.”
United head into tonight’s teak-tough clash against second-placed Norwich, unbeaten in nine away games on the road under Alex Neil, on the back of three successive defeats, which have coincided with the unfathomable suspension of assistant coach Steve Thompson.
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sequence of the season and while the destabilising factor of Thompson’s abrupt exit and the ongoing off-the-field uncertainty at the club are mitigating circumstances, Redfearn is certainly not feeling sorry for himself - and has vowed to battle on for the sake of the club.
Redfearn, who has had no fresh discussions with Massimo Cellino regarding his own future, said: “It’s frustrating. But it is like anything else, we either sit down, sulk and give up or we crack on and we’ve got to crack on as a group of players and the football club has got to move on.
“For me, what happened (with Thompson) is wrong, but if I dwell on it, it starts affecting everything else.
“It’s the last thing I want to do. We want to try and get the club in a better position.
“Then when the dust settles at the end of the season, we can sit down and work things out - whether I am here or not here. But the most important thing is the football club.
“I want to do well for the players as they have done well for me. We have got ourselves safe from the mess and it was a mess - one point above the drop zone. 52 points is comfortably safe, but we don’t just want to be comfortably safe, we want to try and kick on now.”
On his own future, he added: “It has been spelt out to me it will be dealt with at the end of the season. That’s ok, fine. I just get on with it, that’s life and you move on.
“All football club’s do things differently. However it’s done, we get on with it and move on.”
Redfearn was critical of his side’s low-key weekend performance against Cardiff and he has challenged his players to get back in supporters’ good books tonight after a number of fans booed off United on Saturday.
He added: “We have four big games to concentrate on.
“They are important games because the paying public of Leeds turn up at Elland Road and pay good money to come and watch and that’s why it is important.
“The players need to understand that and I think they do.
“I expect us to turn up and be far more front foot and positive about ourselves.
“I expect us to play with confidence. You can’t guarantee a result, but you can guarantee effort, that’s a given.”