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Sorry seems to be the easiest word
Monday, 8th Jan 2018 22:32 by Tim Whelan

Our Head coach was sorry for the fans who travelled to yesterday’s debacle at Newport County, and Samuel Saiz has also issued a heartfelt apology, as dictated by the club’s PR department.

In the immediate aftermath of the game Thomas Christiansen told LUTV “I’m very, very disappointed, we were coming up against a team we should win. We didn’t create many opportunities, we adjusted things in the second half and made changes to try and control things, but we weren’t able to do that. I am sorry for the fans because it is a long journey and they have spent good money to travel and see the team play.”

Christiansen also said that the team he put out should have been good enough, as all of them had played for us at some point in the league this season, and it was indeed an improvement on the side fielded at Sutton last season, with no academy players in the starting eleven. The positive side of selecting ‘fringe’ players is that when they get a rare first team appearance you would expect them to be determined to show what they’re capable of.

But none of them can have come to close to convincing Christiansen that they’re worth a regular start once we get back to ‘Championship’ action in place of those who were rested for this game. Grot and Lasogga just didn’t look good enough, even against League Two opposition, while Cibicki was completely ineffective on the wing.

And for player who has been complaining bitterly on social media about his lack of opportunities, Klich did very little to impress, apart from getting back to make a clearance off the line in the first half. Perhaps the whole team relaxed after scoring an early goal, thinking that was going to be enough, but from the middle of the first half onwards we were losing the battle in midfield and coming under far too much pressure.

For a while we benefitted from Newport’s wayward shooting, but then Shaughnessy scored the first goal for them and then McCoulsky was allowed to run in unchallenged and score the winner. Lasogga was standing right in front of him, but never left the floor to try to head the ball clear. And of course the worst was still to come, with Saiz sent off for spitting at Robbie Willmott, apparently after the Newport player had tripped him as we ran upfield to kick off.

Under UEFA regulations a spitting offence means a six game ban, and today it was confirmed that the club have accepted the charge. A statement on the official Leeds site said "Samuel's behaviour was unacceptable and the player will now be subject to an internal disciplinary hearing on top of serving a six-game ban."

And Saiz himself put his name to a statement which said "I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to the players, staff and supporters of Leeds United for my behaviour in yesterday's game at Newport County AFC. I would also like to apologise to Newport County AFC and Robbie Willmott for my actions.”

"I accept the punishment handed to me by the FA. My actions are inexcusable. I give my word to all those connected to Leeds United Football Club that I will learn from this situation and never repeat it. I am grateful for the support I receive from our fans and I understand that I am a role model to the next generation of Leeds supporters. I will ensure that my behaviour moving forward reflects that."

It does seem a bit daft that the ban for spitting is twice that for punching someone is twice that for punching someone or a tackle that could break someone’s leg, disrespectful though it is. But those are the rules, and we now have to do without our most influential midfielder for a vital part of the season.

I almost forgot to mention that if we'd scraped through we'd have had a glamour tie at home to Tottenham in the fourth round, which would have been nice.


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Photo: Action Images



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