Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa admitted to a feeling of injustice despite a controversial goal from Kemar Roofe rescuing a point from a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.
Roofe bundled home an 82nd-minute equaliser with an arm, staving off a third defeat of the season, but Bielsa described the result at Elland Road as “unfair” after watching Leeds dominate Aitor Karanka’s Forest.
United controlled 71 per cent of possession and chased the game relentlessly after Forest full-back Jack Robinson headed home a corner on 11 minutes but Bielsa was forced to settle for a point as Leeds dropped back off the top of the Championship.
The club lie second after tonight’s stalemate while Forest, who like United have lost just twice all season, are a place below the play-offs, four points further back.
Bielsa said: “It was an unfair result. With all the elements you take to make an opinion on the justice of the game, if we don’t make any analysis then the only thing that matters are the numbers.
“All the aspects of the game were in our favour. We ran a lot, we had the ball, we attacked the whole game and we didn’t concede chances to the opponent. We missed 10 goals (chances). I don’t know if this argument is right but that’s what we saw.
“A draw is not enough to give the reward the team deserved. But I have admiration for the noble character of the opponent. They might have wasted time in an exaggerated manner but every time they recovered the ball, they tried to play.
“The features of the opponent give merit to our performance but I don’t celebrate a draw because for me, when we play at home with 35,000 fans a draw is not enough. Our performance was good. The opponent is one of the good teams in the Championship. In my opinion it was a beautiful game.”
Roofe’s strike - his sixth of the season and his second in two games - was shrouded in controversy amid bitter protests from Forest’s players.
The forward turned a shot from Mateusz Klich over the line with his forearm but referee Geoff Eltringham allowed the effort to stand after consulting with one of his assistants.
Pontus Jansson - back in Leeds’ line-up after a one-game ban - and Michael Dawson became embroiled in a scuffle which went unseen by Eltringham as the official waited to award the goal.
Asked if Roofe had been guilty of cheating, Bielsa said: “I can't judge because I haven't seen it. If we talk about what is legal and illegal we also have to talk about intentions.
“To say that a player cheated, we need to be certain but I never think violation of the rules is something we should praise
“From where I was, I didn’t see a handball. I imagine that the referee didn’t see it either. If you say there was a handball, if it wasn’t a legitimate goal, I wouldn’t be satisfied that they (the officials) accepted it. But the general analysis I made is still valid.”
Karanka was in no doubt that Roofe’s effort should have been disallowed, insisting: “I don’t need to think anything. We were lucky that the cameras were here and everybody could see. It was clear.”