Pontus Jansson makes Wigan admission with Leeds United's play-off heartache still raw

Pontus Jansson has described Leeds United’s Good Friday loss to Wigan Athletic as “the worst game in my life” and voiced frustration over the injury which cost him a role in the play-offs.

By Phil Hay
Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 5:20 pm
Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson following Derby County defeat.
Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson following Derby County defeat.

Jansson told Swedish outlet fotbollskanalen.se that his failure to play in Leeds’ semi-final defeat to Derby County made the club’s aggregate defeat feel “even worse” and admitted their collapse against Wigan had thrown away the chance to be promoted automatically.

Leeds lost 2-1 to 10-man Wigan over the Easter weekend, a result which was widely seen as a fatal blow to their bid for a top-two finish in the Championship.

Wigan, who were fighting against relegation, played with a man less for over an hour but struck twice through Gavin Massey to drop Leeds into third place, behind Norwich City and Sheffield United. Marcelo Bielsa’s side failed to recover in their final three matches.

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Jansson said: “It was totally devastating, to be in front and also have one more player and still lose. It was the worst game in my life. It was terrible.”

United were given a second chance of promotion in the play-offs but having won 1-0 away at Pride Park in the first leg, they were beaten 4-3 on aggregate by Derby after a maddening and error-strewn second leg at Elland Road last week.

Jansson missed the first game with an ankle injury and was left on the bench for the second as Bielsa went with a centre-back pairing of Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi.

At full-time, a despondent Jansson was pictured sitting alone by the stadium’s advertising boards, reflecting on a crushing end to the season.

Most of United’s players have departed on holiday while Derby and Aston Villa prepare to contest the play-off final at Wembley on Monday.

Jansson, meanwhile, is training with Malmo ahead of international duty with Sweden.

"I was so mad after the (Derby) game, especially since I couldn't influence it,” Jansson said. “You play every match and then there’s some s*** coming so you can’t play.

“It was really tough. That makes it even worse.

“It’s still tough now. I’ve talked about it at home with family and friends, and my friends who had booked flights to London - it's totally unreal.”