Leeds manager Brian McDermott insists controversial striker El-Hadji Diouf must learn from his mistakes after a gesture to Brighton fans earned him a red card and left his side with nine men in today’s 2-1 defeat.
Diouf’s team-mate Rodolph Austin had already been dismissed for fouling Ashley Barnes and Brighton substitute Inigo Calderon was also shown a red card by referee Graham Scott in the npower Championship clash.
Gus Poyet’s Brighton booked their place in the play-offs but the dismissals proved the main talking point.
Diouf made his crazy gesture moments after stroking home a 74th-minute equaliser from the penalty spot. McDermott plans to appeal against Austin’s red card but he refused to excuse Diouf and said: “I can’t understand him and maybe he can’t understand himself.
“What he did is not clever. He has got to learn because he is going to miss three games now. He is really upset but he has to be accountable for his actions. These things are dotted around his career. He can be a match-winner and I’ve told him he has to let his football do the talking.
“If you run 50 yards and make a gesture, that is not a heat of the moment thing. I believe 100 per cent he can learn from this - he has to.
“Austin just bumped into their player so no way was it a sending-off offence and we will appeal against it.”
Calderon was sent off for fouling Diouf in conceding the penalty and Poyet said: “Inigo will miss one match. If the penalty award was correct then probably the referee had to send him off, so it is about analysing the build-up to the penalty.”
Poyet added: “I am very pleased with the result. The Championship is becoming more and more difficult so we are delighted to be in the play-offs. We’ve lost Bruno Saltor injured so we are looking for a right-back to play in the next game and there are plenty of volunteers.”
It started going wrong for Leeds when highly-rated right back Sam Byram was injured in the warm-up and lost his ever-present record. They were a goal down inside 10 minutes and two minutes later were reduced to 10 men with Austin’s red card.
Brighton were gifted the opener by England Under-21 defender Tom Lees, whose back-pass towards keeper Paddy Kenny was much too short, Will Buckley cashing in.
Leeds enjoyed ample possession but several penalty claims failed before Calderon’s offence on Diouf, who covered himself in glory from the spot only to bring shame on himself during the celebrations.
The Seagulls’ winner arrived in the 87th minute, Argentinian striker Leonardo Ulloa heading home from Andrea Orlandi’s cross.