Off-camera moments - Marcelo Bielsa translation, Leeds United admiration, screams, silence and Ian Poveda jokes on Manchester City bench

The Manchester City substitutes bench was a terrifying sight but the famous faces looked as if they'd seen a ghost when Leeds United's Stuart Dallas wheeled away to celebrate his winner at the Etihad.

Sunday, 11th April 2021, 5:45 am
KEY BATTLE - Benjamin Mendy struggled with Leeds United winger Raphinha's pace before being replaced by Pep Guardiola and taking up the role of chief protester of time-wasting on the Manchester City bench. Pic:Getty

Covid-19 regulations mean that, at a number of grounds around the country, replacements are sat close to the press box, affording an interesting and often entertaining insight into the match experience of top-class players.

Kyle Walker, of Manchester City and England, flitted between humour and analysis of the game throughout.

He gave former City winger Ian Poveda some light hearted barracking as the Leeds man ran out to get warmed up, then mock-chided a City staff member, suggesting the visitors' warm-up was more comprehensive than the hosts'.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"If you dribble past one man, you're okay," he mused just after Fernandinho turned past Tyler Roberts to find a dangerous pocket of space in the middle of the park.

He and the rest of the City bench were on their feet in outrage when Liam Cooper's attempted clearance connected with Gabriel Jesus' knee and levelled their team-mate.

They wanted a red card and, after VAR suggested referee Andre Marriner take another look at a tackle he initially punished with a yellow, they got one.

Patrick Bamford was instantly withdrawn as Marcelo Bielsa responded to the dismissal of his captain and sent on Pascal Struijk. Bamford was crestfallen and punched the seat in front of him as he sat down behind the technical area.

Bielsa, who had been given the warmest welcome by Pep Guardiola and his staff, was at times the centre of attention and a member of the home backroom staff translated the Argentine's verbal output.

"He's saying stop complaining to the referee," he told City colleagues.

Walker asked Spanish team-mate Eric Garcia to translate what the Leeds head coach was saying in the second half and as the game went into the later stages at 1-1, expressed his admiration for the visitors' performance, particularly in light of their man disadvantage.

There was less admiration for the length of time Illan Meslier took to restart the game in the final 10 minutes and Benjamin Mendy, replaced by Guardiola, screamed in complaint, much to the amusement of Walker and others.

The laughter and smiles vanished as Dallas was put through by Alioski and Leeds went 2-1 up in stoppage time.

Instead it was the visitors who enjoyed themselves, at least as much as a tense final couple of minutes allowed.

Not everyone from the Yorkshire outfit was happy, however. Raphinha, who had been wiped out by a cynical and heavy Fernandinho foul, went to ground in pain and was screamed at by his head coach. Raphinha responded in kind from the turf and, having received treatment, had to come off, Jamie Shackleton coming on in his stead.

The Brazilian's blood was still up as he came to the technical area, shrugging off the sympathy of Bielsa's assistant Pablo Quiroga and then, as the full-time whistle sounded, attempting to head straight down the tunnel. His captain attempted to calm him, to little avail, although Raphinha did return to the pitch for the fist bumps and embraces.

He was later lauded by Bielsa for 'unbalancing' the match at every given opportunity.

The head coach also praised Dallas, who caught the eye of his other boss, Northern Ireland manager Ian Barraclough, as he finished his media duties and headed for the changing room.

"Where did they come from?" joked Baraclough, currently desperate for an in-form goalscorer, to the man who netted both of Leeds' goals at the Etihad.

Dallas cut a tired figure, the win coming at a heavy physical cost. Raphinha later posted a picture of his strapped thigh and Kalvin Phillips elected to hop back into the changing room having stripped off his sock and shinpad to inspect his lower leg.

Bumps and buises everywhere, for Phillips and Leeds, but the size of the smile on his face showed it was more than worth it.