Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa defends match officials amid Pontus Jansson criticism

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
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Marcelo Bielsa has again spoken out in defence of match officials and revealed he did not support the comments by Pontus Jansson which earned the Leeds United defender a misconduct charge.

Jansson is awaiting punishment from the Football Association after swearing on live television and accusing referee Jeremy Simpson of “robbery” in the wake of Leeds’ 1-1 draw with Brentford before the international break.

Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson.

Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson.

Simpson’s performance, which saw him award Brentford a controversial penalty and send off Leeds’ right-back Luke Ayling, incited frustration in Jansson who criticised the official in an on-field interview with Sky Sports.

The Sweden international was charged by the FA earlier this week and had until 6pm on Wednesday to respond.

The governing body is yet to confirm any punishment but Jansson is likely to receive a fine.

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Bielsa, who refused to criticise Simpson immediately after the Brentford clash, said: “I would have preferred that Pontus didn't say that because actually the referee is a colleague of ours, of both teams.

“His task is very difficult and if we understand the role of the referee we will help him.

“The role of us on the bench allows us to have more serenity than the players on the pitch but I think if Pontus had time to think about it he wouldn't have said the same thing.

“I understand also when players make many efforts on the pitch and feel that the treatment they receive isn’t fair. This is the opinion of a 63-year-old man who is not on the pitch.”

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Jansson is back at Leeds’ Thorp Arch training ground after international duty with Sweden but the centre-back - arguably Bielsa’s form player in the past month - continues to await the arrival of his first child.

His wife remains in Sweden, creating the possibility of Jansson being forced to fly home and miss Saturday’s trip to Blackburn Rovers at short notice.

Bielsa admitted he could not be certain of Jansson’s involvement at Ewood Park. "We'll see what happens,” United’s head coach said.