Marcelo Bielsa admits feeling ‘sadness and disappointment’ after Leeds’ shock FA Cup exit to Crawley means he’s still NEVER won a game in the competition – but should the Premier League side have been given a ‘clear as day’ penalty?
- Leeds were left humiliated after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Crawley
- The hosts impressed and progressed after a three-goal salvo in the second half
- Marcelo Bielsa admitted to feeling ‘sadness and disappointment’ due to the loss
- The Premier League outfit looked to have been denied a clear penalty, however
Marcelo Bielsa may claim to adore the romance of the FA Cup but it brought him nothing but ‘sadness’ and ‘disappointment’ as his Leeds team were humbled at Crawley.
Bielsa is yet to win a single tie in the competition since his arrival at Elland Road and is now the victim of a classic upset after his Premier League side lost 3-0 against a team 62 places below them in the English football pyramid.
Crawley join Newport, Sutton, Histon, Rochdale and Hereford as unfancied minnows who have, this century, toppled the once-mighty Leeds, winners of the FA Cup in 1972 but always prone to a giant-killing.
Marcelo Bielsa has admitted to feeling ‘sadness and disappointment’ after Leeds’ FA Cup exit
‘The result generates a lot of sadness and disappointment for us,’ said Bielsa.
‘It is not a question of surprise. We know the characteristics of their players and the opponents, just like every other opponent. We couldn’t unbalance them when we attacked. We had the ball for a long period of time, but couldn’t do much with it.
‘In the first half, we played better than the opponent and the game was played how we wanted it to be played, even if we didn’t create much danger. In the second half, the game was played how the opponents wanted to play. They did create danger to deserve the goals that they scored.’
Goalkeeper Illan Meslier and top-scorer Patrick Bamford were spared the trip to Crawley but Bielsa, selected a strong team, only to make three key changes at half-time when the game was still goalless.
The Leeds boss removed Rodrigo, who started up front in place of Bamford, Pascal Struijk in midfield and captain Liam Cooper, who was starting for the first time since an injury.
Among those to come on were 18-year-old Jack Jenkins, making his debut in midfield, and young centre-half Olly Casey, who was exposed as Crawley took the initiative with two goals inside three minutes, soon after the interval.
Nick Tsaroulla scored the first of Crawley’s three goals in their shock victory over Bielsa’s side
Jordan Tunnicliffe netted the final goal with Crawley downing their Premier League opponents
England international Kalvin Phillips, who will Saturday’s game in the Premier League against Brighton because of suspension, played the entire game.
‘He was upset, we were all upset,’ said Leeds wing-back Ezgjan Alioski when asked how Bielsa reacted to the shock defeat. ‘What do you say? Every player needs to know what it means to lose 3-0. It’s not for the coach to tell us.
‘We are really disappointed. It’s not what we wanted. I am really sad. We took the game really seriously and wanted to go a round more. This is not what we wanted and congratulations to Crawley. To beat us 3-0, I still can’t believe it.’
The context of the tie may have been drastically different, however, had Leeds been awarded a penalty in the first half, which Jermaine Beckford claimed was ‘as clear as day’.
A first-time cross from Helder Costa looked set to fall for Rodrigo inside the box, but the Leeds man was instead sent tumbling to the turf.
Bielsa rued Leeds’ failure to effectively make use of their long periods of possession on Sunday
Replays quickly showed Crawley defender Tony Craig appearing to haul his opponent’s right shoulder back – but any shouts from the visitors fell on deaf ears.
Beckford, who played for Leeds between 2006 and 2010 and scored 85 goals, believes his former club should have been given the spot-kick.
‘Looking at it back, it was a great first-time cross from Helder Costa,’ he said.
‘Rodrigo had his right shoulder pulled back by Craig.
‘Because there are no VAR cameras here, the referee is in a position where he can’t really see it from that angle. But, you know, it’s clear as day in my opinion.’
Leeds saw a penalty appeal in the first half turned down after Rodrigo was felled inside the box
Rodrigo’s right shoulder looked to have been held back by Tony Craig but play was waved on