Graeme Souness offers Jesse Marsch advice on 'heat of battle' Leeds United incident

Sky Sports pundit and former Premier League manager Graeme Souness has dubbed Daniel James' tackle on Mateo Kovacic 'reckless'

By Joe Donnohue
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 6:00 am

Leeds United were reduced to ten men during the first half of their 3-0 defeat by Chelsea at Elland Road as Daniel James was shown a straight red card.

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The Welsh forward's lunging tackle on Blues midfielder Mateo Kovacic drew praise from some corners of Elland Road, but referee Anthony Taylor saw differently, brandishing a red card without hesitation.

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FRUSTRATION: Jesse Marsch shows his frustration during Leeds' 3-0 defeat by Chelsea (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The official had a clear view of the challenge, his vantage point unobstructed as James initially won the ball but followed through high on the Croatian's ankle.

During Sky Sports' half-time coverage of the fixture, pundit Graeme Souness offered his verdict on the challenge and head coach Jesse Marsch's reaction.

"It's reckless," Souness said. "Yes he gets the ball but his studs catch the rest of Kovacic. We'll see the bench of Leeds United complaining about it."

"He gets the ball but he gets more of the player. That's a dangerous tackle and that's a red card."

Despite his insistence in the post-match press conference that he had not seen a replay of the tackle, Sky cameras appeared to show Marsch watching the incident back on a dugout iPad.

His reaction showed him remonstrating with the fourth official Kevin Friend that James had won the ball.

"In the heat of battle you see things differently when you're on the touchline like that, but I think he'll reflect on that when he sees it later and say that was a sending off," Souness said.

"He got a bit of the ball but he got a hell of a lot of Kovacic."

James will now miss the remainder of the season through suspension, along with Luke Ayling who was also sent off in United's previous fixture at Arsenal.