Leeds United defender Kyle Bartley condemned the behaviour of Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner but admitted the “better team won” at the end of a controversial West Yorkshire derby.
Bartley criticised Wagner for showing a “lack of class” and blamed him for “causing chaos” after an ugly brawl marred the closing stages of a fiercely-competitive game at the John Smith’s Stadium. But the centre-back refused to gloss over United’s display after Town snatched a 90th-minute winner and climbed above Leeds to fourth in the Championship.
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Michael Hefele’s last-gasp effort – the catalyst for a all-out fracas on the touchline – gave Huddersfield a deserved 2-1 victory after a number of previous chances went begging.
United were on the verge of claiming a draw after Chris Wood replied to Izzy Brown’s goal in the first half but a deflected shot from Aaron Mooy ran into the path of Hefele who made no mistake from close range.
“If I’m honest, I don’t think we played very well,” Bartley said. “I thought maybe the better team won. There have been games where we haven’t played to our full potential but we dug in and managed to get a result. As the game wore on I thought that’s what we would manage to do but we never seemed to relieve the pressure.
“I didn’t think we were fantastic but these are the type of games where you’ve got to see it out and get some points. The longer the game went on, it (a point) did seem like a good result away from home. We’re disappointed we couldn’t hold on.”
Leeds had ridden their luck with near-misses in the second half but a kind break from Mooy’s shot allowed Hefele to tap home his second league goal of the season.
“It was an unfortunate goal and the type that we haven’t conceded very often this season,” Bartley said. “We’ll have a look at it and analyse that.
“Credit to Huddersfield, they’re a good team. But we need to stamp our authority on these games a bit more. We need to be a bit more composed, try and pass it a bit more and hold a bit more possession. That way we can create more chances.”
Wagner’s reaction to Hefele’s goal, leading to an altercation with United’s head coach Garry Monk and provoking mayhem around both benches, ended with the German and Monk sent to the stands by referee Simon Hooper after order was restored.
Monk immediately walked down the tunnel but Wagner sat behind his dug-out before re-appearing on the pitch at full-time to congratulate his players. He was involved in fresh exchanges with Bartley and United captain Liam Bridcutt before Monk’s players left the field.
Bartley said: “For me their manager lacked a bit of class and caused the chaos. I told him he should have a bit more respect for our players, his players and football. Football’s a game of respect and for me he didn’t show that.
“I don’t know why he was back on the pitch (after full-time). He’d been sent off so he should have stayed off the pitch. There’s 22 players on the pitch and the pitch is for the players, not for the manager. For me, he lacked a bit of class and respect and it should have been dealt with a lot better.”
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