Arsene Wenger praises Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa for actions in Aston Villa controversy

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
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Arsene Wenger has praised Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa following his decision to allow Aston Villa to score a goal unopposed.

The Whites played out a controversial 1-1 draw with Dean Smith's side on Sunday afternoon at Elland Road.

Leeds entered the fixture knowing that their automatic promotion hopes were all but over following Sheffield United's 2-0 victory over Ipswich Town on Saturday evening.

United, though, opened the scoring through Mateusz Klich in the 72nd minute after the visitors stopped playing believing Leeds were going to kick the ball out of play due to an injury to Jonathan Kodjia.

The goal sparked a melee between the two sides with Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi sent off for a clash with Patrick Bamford, who was given a caution alongside Conor Hourihane.

Bielsa ordered his side to allow the visitors to restore parity immediately from kick-off following the incident.

Wenger, who was speaking to beIN Sport, praised the actions of Bielsa in the pressure situation: "I would like to say thank you to the manager of Leeds, Marcelo Beisla.

"It's a remarkable gesture. They are playing to come up to the Premier League and there is something at stake. It's totally remarkable and the whole world has to watch that.

"The second thing is to remind the rules that the players should not stop if there is no head injury. Only the referee can stop the game. Aston Villa should not have stopped to play. Leeds took advantage of it and that is where they were guilty.

"It is a kind of fair play that is usually on the football pitch. Only the ref can stop the game but it's remarkable from Marcelo Bielsa."