The Chalkboard: How Bielsa’s showing of sportsmanship may help in the long run

Marcelo Bielsa has been praised this weekend for his showing of sportsmanship after he allowed Aston Villa to equalise against his side having judged they had scored unlawfully.

Mateusz Klich netted the opener at Elland Road on Sunday despite an injury to Jonathan Kodjia which had the majority of players unfocussed. After the goal, Bielsa instructed his team to allow Villa to walk through the whole team and equalise.

Irrelevant result

If the Whites would have won rather than drawing on Sunday it really wouldn’t have meant much in the grand scheme of things.

Sheffield United’s goal difference is far superior to Leeds’ so even if Bielsa’s side had won, the Blades’ promotion would have been delayed by only a week barring a 12-goal swing.

Leeds are now confined to the playoffs where they may potentially meet their opposition from this weekend in the final.

Removing ammunition

Playoff finals are often about who wants it more. The two teams are equally matched and whoever turns up on the day usually ends up the victor.

If the Argentine hadn’t allowed Villa to equalise straight away, then Dean Smith would have no problem getting his team up for it if they were to face off against the Whites at Wembley.

The scenes after the goal showed how aggrieved every Villa player was and if that sort of intensity was carried through to the playoff final, then there would be no doubt as to which team would be more motivated on the day.

Smith would have the easiest team talk in history. The former Brentford boss could tell his players to go out and get revenge and give his players that extra incentive needed to put in a top performance.

Instead Bielsa’s decision to give the visitors a goal calmed everyone down and put out the fire that was in the bellies of the Villa players.

Smith will no longer be able to use this injustice as ammunition to provoke his players which could, in turn, affect their performance in the final.