Marcelo Bielsa spoke out in defence of Pontus Jansson after the centre-back was involved in a scuffle with Michael Dawson towards the end of Leeds United’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.
Bielsa refused to question Jansson’s temperament and said the Sweden international was “not a violent player” following the confrontation which came after Leeds claimed a controversial 82nd-minute equaliser on Saturday.
Jansson and Dawson were involved in an angry stand-off as Forest’s players protested against a goal which was allowed to stand despite the ball striking Kemar Roofe’s arm before it crossed the line.
Jansson, who was returning from a one-match ban imposed on him by the Football Association for accusing referee Jeremy Simpson of “robbery” after a 1-1 draw with Brentford on October 6, attempted to retrieve the ball quickly from Dawson, prompting an exchange of blows.
The incident appeared to go unnoticed by match official Geoff Eltringham, who was walking to consult with one of his assistants over whether Roofe’s effort should stand.
Bielsa also failed to see the clash but asked if Jansson needed to control his temper, United’s head coach said: “I don’t think so. It’s very hard to make an opinion about actions you haven’t seen.
“Instincts are reactions that don’t go through a mental process. Sometimes you take decisions and you don’t think about them.
“In football excesses are so common, not because football players are savages but because they’re undergoing stress which is so high. Because they’re professionals doesn’t mean they always control their emotions.
“When you show a football player something he did wrong, he’s not happy about it. He’s not proud of it. He feels guilty and many times he says ‘I don’t know why I did that.’ If you have players who always repeat the same mistake, maybe you can make an opinion with that.”
Bielsa’s backing of Jansson came as he rejected claims that Roofe had been guilty of cheating in using his arm to force the ball over the goalline.
“I don’t think that Kemar Roofe is a player who’s not loyal (trustworthy),” Bielsa said. “If you have a look at his history you reach the same conclusion. And I don’t think Jansson is a violent player. I’d rather say the opposite.”