(Reuters) – Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa said he has instructed his players not to put the ball out of play if an opponent is injured and to wait for the referee to stop play during their Championship playoff semi-final against Derby County.
The decision comes after Leeds’ controversial goal against Aston Villa earlier this month when Mateusz Klich did not kick the ball out of play and scored moments after Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia had suffered an injury and needed treatment.
The goal sparked a melee which led to Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi being sent off for his role in the protests and Bielsa was forced to calm things down by asking his players to allow Villa to score an equaliser unopposed when the game was restarted.
“We have reached the common decision with the players,” Bielsa said ahead of Saturday’s first leg in Derby.
“We decide to adapt 100 percent to the rules and we understand that if we have one player (down injured) we understand that we don’t have to put the ball out of the pitch.
“We also think that if a player from the opposing team is down, we shouldn’t interrupt the play and put the ball out. We all know the person that has to take this decision is the referee.”
Bielsa confirmed he would discuss the issue with referee Craig Pawson and Derby boss Frank Lampard before the game and said his decision had nothing to do with what happened against Villa in England’s second-tier Championship.
“This has nothing to do with the situation against Aston Villa because we feinted to put the ball out and didn’t,” Bielsa added.
“I’m not talking about that. We just want to find a solution to this moment of doubt.”
The two teams are vying for a place in the playoff final where they will play the winner of the other semi-final between West Bromwich Albion and Villa. The playoff final winner gains promotion to the Premier League.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)