By David Woods

29th Mar, 2021 | 7:35pm

Keith Hackett delivers verdict on Bielsa decision v Aston Villa

We’re delighted to welcome former Premier League referee Keith Hackett to the MOT Leeds News team. Each week, Hackett will discuss the big moments from the latest Leeds United games and deliver his verdict on whether his successors got their calls right or wrong…

Keith Hackett has praised Marcelo Bielsa for ordering his players to let Aston Villa score in a controversial game in the Championship from the 18/19 campaign.

Leeds scored when a Villa player was down injured and the resulting fracas saw Anwar El Ghazi sent off for an apparent elbow on Patrick Bamford.

Bielsa ordered his players to let Aston Villa score unopposed and Leeds were awarded the FIFA Fair Play award in 2019.

Talking exclusively to MOT Leeds News Hackett said, “I thought it was absolutely remarkable.

“We had Arsenal v Sheffield United in the FA Cup if you remember, when there was a player injured and play went on. Eventually, they replayed that game thanks to Arsene Wenger.

“I thought it was a magnanimous act that really shows the passion of Bielsa, a passion for fairness.

“I think they gave Paolo Di Canio an award for what he did and it was good that Leeds were given the same recognition by FIFA.

“It could have developed into a really difficult scenario for the referee. The players were unhappy and I think he probably prevented an escalation of the problem.

“It was an act that was good for the game.

“I think the referee made a mistake in that game and should have found a reason to stop it. You’ve got to apply common sense.”

The game almost descended into farce when Leeds centre-back Pontus Jansson tried to stop Villa scoring in a one-man defence.

Luckily, his tackle wasn’t successful, otherwise the game could have flared up again.

It split the Leeds United fanbase with some supporters siding with Jansson. However, overall it was the right thing to do.

In other Leeds United news, View: Bielsa must unleash 21yo Leeds flyer v Blades for full PL debut after huge news reported