David Prutton: Leeds United have required personality and bottle to seal the deal the scenic way

THE most surprising thing to me about the whole incident in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa was the way Conor Hourihane reacted to Mateusz Klich’s goal.

By David Prutton
Friday, 3rd May 2019, 9:28 am
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 9:31 am
HEATED: Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford goes to ground during last weekend's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
HEATED: Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford goes to ground during last weekend's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

Villa’s players approached Klich in a very agressive way and from what I have seen of Hourihane and the brief times that I have chatted to him, you don’t feel that he comes across like that type of personality.

But if that type of goal is scored against you then I can understand that type of reaction, though I can’t understand why Hourihane’s reaction has not been looked at.

If you are looking at the Patrick Bamford thing, I think it’s absolutely right that Patrick has been banned.

What he did was ludicrous, going down like that with Anwar El Ghazi nowhere near his face.

For a team that has shown itself to be tough both physically and mentally, that flew in the face of what they have managed to establish themselves as this season.

Bamford has quite rightly been punished because, in a broader view of what you deem acceptable on a football pitch, I don’t think that is acceptable at all.

I also think it’s right that they have rescinded El Ghazi’s red card because it was nowhere near a red card, it wasn’t even a yellow card really.

But the linesman on that side had a shocker because he missed the fact that Klich was offside when he scored and then he has deemed the incident between El Ghazi and Bamford to have taken place.

There is obviously going to be a lot of fallout about it and when you talk about the part that Hourihane played in it, there was also Sergio Canos earlier on in the season with a physical confrontation against a Leeds player that went unpunished.

But across the season you have had Kemar Roofe putting the ball in the net with his arm against Nottingham Forest that nobody saw.

There was the penalty that Leeds didn’t get against Brentford but then the one that they did get against Wigan and how on earth the referee saw that as a clear handball I will never know because watching it slowed down and at different angles you can’t tell.

With Bamford getting banned and Houirhane not, yes there will be an element of feeling hard done by and I absolutely understand that from a Leeds point of view.

If you are a supporter, you have got to approach it with a balanced perspective.

But your heart and your soul is invested in the club so it’s quite understandable why you would feel like your nose has been put of joint, coupled with the fact that where Leeds find themselves at this stage of the season.

A couple of weeks ago we presumed that we were looking at a Leeds team that had automatic promotion or were very much in the box seat for it.

Now they are going to have to go the scenic route and work out the hard way to get in the Premier League.

But I have got no doubt that Leeds have got the personality and the bottle to do it.

In terms of what happened with Klich scoring when Jonathan Kodjia was down injured, there’s that element of playing to the whistle.

Because it’s not a head injury, the referee doesn’t have to stop the game and it falls into that wonderful grey area of sportsmanship and behaviour.

From the point of view of the outcome of the game, there was obviously the fact that Sheffield United were 99.9 per cent promoted bar a comical goals difference swing on the last day and that meant that the decision that was taken in allowing Aston Villa to walk in an equaliser was the right one and the most comfortable one.

Marcelo Bielsa comes out of it looking great which I think is absolutely right and it dovetails nicely into the flak that he got from Spygate as I think a lot of that was way over the top.

But the point that has been made across the board, and which is so hypothetical that we will never know either way, is that if the three points had taken Leeds to the Premier League then I couldn’t have seen Leeds allowing Villa to score a goal because of what was at stake.

It would have left a sour taste in the mouths of quite a lot of the Football League but it would have got Leeds to the Premier League and that really would have been a talking point.

We’ll never know with that ...

There was certianly at least one man on the pitch that didn’t agree with it and if Pontus Jansson had managed to clear the ball then what on earth would have happened then?

I can understand Pontus’ frustrations and he looks to me like a player who does as much as he possibly can physically and emotionally and mentally to win a football game for a club that he quite obviously loves and they love him back.

I can understand the frustrations but, if you take the emotion out and look at it all from a balanced point of view, then I can understand that it’s extremely hard if you are a Leeds fan that has been on this journey this season.

It’s been an absolute rollercoaster but one that has still got a chance of success.

But, without going through the actions and reactions to the goal with a fine toothcomb and the punishment of different players, then I think, from a balanced perspective, what Bielsa did was about right.