Full transcript of Marcelo Bielsa's extraordinary response to FA's handling of Leeds United v Aston Villa

Marcelo Bielsa dismissed it as a "boring explanation" but his reaction to the disciplinary fall-out from Leeds United's clash with Aston Villa found him at his most moved and most passionate today.

By Phil Hay
Friday, 3rd May 2019, 6:14 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 6:16 pm
Leeds United's players clash with Aston Villa at Elland Road.
Leeds United's players clash with Aston Villa at Elland Road.

Bielsa insisted repeatedly that he was not criticising the Football Association for banning United's Patrick Bamford but failing to cite Villa's Conor Hourihane but underlying frustration was evident as he spoke for more than 40 minutes about the sanctions stemming from last Sunday's game at Elland Road.

Here is every word he has to say on Bamford and Hourihane:

On the decision to ban Bamford:

"I try not to judge. It’s a fact that Bamford simulated that he received a hit so there is no point in talking about it, but you have conclusions which are important to underline because this kind of situation conditions behaviour in the future.

“In my work I sometimes have the obligation to serve justice.

"I have to manage the interests of the players who fight for the same position in the team. Sometimes I give a reward with my decisions and sometimes I punish them with my decisions.

“When I have to make a decision that’s punishment to someone, I keep in mind a principle that you always have to remember when you serve justice.

"The principle is that all acts with the same nature have to be judged with the same severity.

“This offers a conclusion over the decision taken against Patrick Bamford.

"After this, all acts have to be judged with the same severity because the opposite of what I’m talking about is to punish people but with differences. It’s a big risk for those who serve justice.

“I’m talking about myself. If I judge people and don’t apply the same criteria in the same situation, it’s not the right thing to do.

“When you make a mistake you always have to process the conclusion to change your behaviour in the future. A punch becomes an aggression according to the capacity of resistance of the person who receives it.

"If they are not strong, it’s not aggression. If they are strong, it is an aggression. We understand that we can’t pretend we have received a punch when we haven’t but we can’t judge the strength of a punch felt by a player who receives one.

“The obvious conclusion is that if you punch someone and this person is strong enough, it’s not aggression. If you punch someone and this person is not strong, it is aggression. That’s the conclusion we have to take from the decision.

“Another conclusion that you can draw about this case is when the authorities on the pitch, the referees, can’t judge what happened during the game, taken into account the possibility that the referee makes a mistake, the referee is afraid of making mistakes and asks for help to be sure of the right decision.

"When we receive a sanction we are also allowed to ask for help to solve possible mistakes by the referee.

“The referee can go to a commission and say he needs the help of the commission because he had to manage many things during the game. We all know this isn’t true. He knows that he made a mistake and that’s why he asks for help from this commission, to justify the mistake he made

“If he (referee Stuart Attwell) hadn’t made that mistake, he would have found out that someone cheated and he wouldn’t have given a red card to El Ghazi.

"The referee made a mistake but he doesn’t say that. He says he had to take into account many things, he had to watch many things and maybe he made a mistake. But things were not like that.

"At the end of the game the referee knew he made a mistake so he asked for the intervention of the commission saying that he had to manage many things, and maybe he made a mistake. This is not true.

“Of course, these are my conclusions.

"I’m not discussing the decisions but we all have the obligation to describe the process of those who judge us. The conclusions are very clear and the system works like this. I’m not discussing it because I have to submit myself to the judgement of the authorities, not to criticise them.

“When the authorities take decisions, they send messages which we have to process. All these interpretations are made because they don’t tell the public how they reached this conclusion or what was the process to reach this conclusion.

“As those who have to respect the rules, we have the obligation to interpret them in order not to make the same mistake again. The messages are the three I gave. I’m not discussing anything.

"I’m just telling you how we should behave from now on to avoid what happened to us again.

“Hopefully the conclusion of this boring explanation is that I’m not saying I’m against the norms. I’m just interpreting the norms. Interpretation is an obligation which I have for a norm which is obviously not clear enough.

“The conclusions I draw, here in this room we have 15 people.

"If I’m wrong then I would be thankful if you would tell me that I’m wrong because maybe there are some details I’m not aware of and I wouldn’t like to make a mistake. Because all the conclusions we draw about what happened in the last game allow us to educate the public regarding the rules.

“I’m not saying the rules are wrong. I’m saying these are the rules. I wouldn’t like to risk describing the rules in a bad way or a wrong way. I would like you to tell me if I’m wrong.

“Of course I can be wrong.

"It doesn’t mean that someone can’t tell me ‘yes, but you ignore this aspect’ or ‘your explanation is wrong because you haven’t taken into account these facts’.

"If this was the case I would apologise. What we can’t say is ‘this is my interpretation and you have a different one’ because if we say that, we’re all right and nothing changes. Nobody changes.

“The conclusion you have to draw is that if someone receives a punch, you can’t analyse the intensity of it. You know it’s a punch but you don’t know how strong. You have to measure the effect.

"The only person who can measure the effect is the one who receives the punch. The conclusion we get from the decision taken is if the player who receives the punch falls down then it’s strong. If not, it’s weak and it’s not aggression.

“The only thing that matters to me is if I’m right or wrong.

"When I communicate with you, it’s important not for the personal relationship but because I have a special respect for you. As I have a lot of respect for you, I feel free to tell you that I’m not interested in your opinion.

"I’m interested in the fact that you’re going to transmit the message I want to transmit to the public. But I’m interested in other opinions in this room because I have to hope that if you don’t tell me I’m wrong, with the right to exchange opinions, then you’re telling me that I’m right.

"Of course there’s another option. You can tell me my job is not to argue or debate with you. That is the other option.

“My ambition is to say all the people present here were agreed with my analysis but it’s very hard to obtain this. And I’m talking too much.”

On Hourihane escaping FA charges:

“It’s clear why he was not cited by the commission because they looked at the subject.

"I don’t know if you know. It’s not that it hasn’t been judged. It has been judged and the conclusion is that a punch like that is not aggression. That’s why from this decision I make my conclusions.

"Otherwise I would be deeply mistaken.

“I don’t know what percentage of information or facts you have but I’m giving you my opinion based on the conclusion given by this commission, that this punch is not an aggression.

"As I accept the decisions of the authorities, I’m explaining that from this conclusion I reached my own - which is, if the player who receives the punch is strong it’s not aggression, and if he is weak, it is aggression.

“As we can’t measure the intensity, the only person who can is the player who receives the punch so the only thing you can evaluate is the resistance of the player.

"I’m going to tell you something I shouldn’t. It’s my interpretation. It means that any punch you receive, even if it’s just touching you, go to the ground and simulate that it’s a strong punch because the only way to get justice is by doing that.

"That’s why there’s a contradiction in the decision taken by the commission.

“They sanction people who simulate but at the same time, they invite people to simulate. You understand? Am I wrong? Does someone think that I’m wrong? I’m not saying that to strengthen my position. I’m just saying this to see if I’m mistaken or wrong.

“Remember this. I’m not asking for the commission to analyse any rival. I’m not denouncing anything. I never do that.

"I only say that this behaviour was judged and interpreted this way. Me, as a head coach, I have to interpret the decisions taken because I’m responsible for the behaviour of the players in my team.

“There is nothing worse as a foreigner than to give yourself the right to judge the behaviour of the owners of the house.

"A foreigner has to be prudent enough to be thankful to the Championship, that the Championship allows this foreigner to be part of it. The second aspect is not to criticise the structure which you belong to and work in.

“I’m not analysing the decision, I’m giving my interpretation.

"I don’t have the right or the capacity or the knowledge to tell you this is right and this is wrong.

"I only draw conclusions from the decisions I have to make an interpretations from to do my work. I don’t want to be judged as someone who belongs to the Championship and criticises the Championship.”