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Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa laments 'irritation' but refuses to blame referee for Birmingham City defeat

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa refused to blame the officials for Saturday's defeat to Birmingham City.
Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa refused to blame the officials for Saturday's defeat to Birmingham City.
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Marcelo Bielsa bemoaned the “irritation” of a stop-start clash with Birmingham City but declined to point the finger at referee Peter Bankes after Leeds United’s 2-1 defeat at Elland Road.

Bielsa admitted to frustration over the string of delays and injuries which held up the second half and led to eight minutes of added time at the end of Saturday’s game.

Two of Birmingham’s defenders, Michael Morrison and Kristian Pedersen, were booked for time-wasting as Garry Monk’s side fought to hold on for their first league win of the season and the home crowd took issue with the number of visiting players who required treatment after half-time.

Complaints from Bielsa and his coaches towards the fourth official led to a caution for assistant Diego Reyes under new EFL guidelines which allow referees to show yellow and red cards to managers and backroom staff.

But speaking at the end of a loss which ended United’s eight-match unbeaten start in the Championship, Bielsa said: “I don’t have any complaints against the referee. The situation he had to resolve was the one we saw and he used the rules to solve them so we have nothing to say against him.

WATCH: Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa reflects on Birmingham City defeat

“He is not responsible for the facts he has to judge. I think he took the right decisions. The irritation was due to the fact that the same event happened several times.

“The referee can sometimes take the right decision, sometimes the wrong one, but I don’t think he influenced the result. If a player goes to ground he has the obligation to stop the game and he has to wait until the player gets off the pitch.

“The problem is that this happened many times because the opponent had many injuries and this provoked irritation from those of us who wanted a different result. But I see this as me not being able to get a different result.”

Reyes is the second of United’s assistants to be yellow carded this season after Pablo Quiroga was booked during the second half of a 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough last month.

Bielsa was visibly frustrated by the officials’ handling of Saturday’s game but also by his side’s performance as Leeds were punished by two early goals from Che Adams.

“I thought I would receive a yellow card and be responsible for my coaches, not because I behaved bad, but because I’m responsible for the behaviour of my staff,” Bielsa said.

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“I repeat again, we don’t have a grudge against the referee. If he felt that one of us judged him, he took the action.”

United produced 17 shots on goal to Birmingham’s four and controlled more than 70 per cent of possession but were unable to break down Monk’s defence until Gjanni Alioski struck in the 85th minute.

Bielsa said: “We dominated the game 70, 80 per cent of the time and we had twice as many chances to score as the opponent.

“Of course we assume our responsibility - we could have won this game but we didn’t win. It was a home game, there was a big difference in the league ranking (between the clubs) and without making any opinion on the players of the opponent, I’m sure our players are not inferior to those of our opponent.”