Phil Hay has said that the “strop” from Leeds United attacker Pablo Hernandez to being subbed off against Leicester was down to frustration at the game and wasn’t aimed at Marcelo Bielsa.
Unfortunately, the Sky Sports cameras picked up on Hernandez ripping off his black armband – for the 1918 Armistice and Nobby Stiles’ death – and hurling it into the stands.
Leeds were given a lesson by Leicester on Monday Night Football, with Brendan Rodgers’ side leaving as 4-1 winners and in second place in the Premier League.
The game could have turned out so differently, though, with Leeds in the ascendancy in the second-half of the game.
The score was 2-1 and Pablo Hernandez looked to have equalised but his beautiful curling shot hit the corner of the post and upright.
Had that gone in it would have been a different game. It didn’t and Hernandez was hooked off by Marcelo Bielsa and replaced with Tyler Roberts.
Hernandez didn’t take too kindly to being taken off. The Sky Sports cameras picked up on him taking off his black armband and he hadn’t cooled down after his long walk back to the stand when he kicked a water bottle – all the while muttering and shaking his head.
It was an extreme reaction and not one that really helped Leeds at the time.
Marcelo Bielsa was nonplussed after the game and simply asked what he could do about it when asked what he made of the incident.
In an article on the Athletic Hay said, “sources at Leeds say his strop on Monday was more about the game itself than Bielsa’s decision to take him out of it.”
Hay added: “Hernandez might regret his petulance in tossing his black armband away.
“Water bottles are there to be abused and have been since the dawn of time.
“Symbolic gestures — in this case, to mark the 1918 Armistice and the death of Nobby Stiles — deserve more reverent treatment.
“But these reactions are windows into Hernandez’s mind, raw expressions of what it is like to be in his shoes: supremely talented, as fulfilled as many footballers but nearing the end of a career he loves.”
We love passion from footballers and generally don’t have a problem with players showing frustration at being taken off.
Given the delicate state of the game against Leicester, a more positive reaction from Hernandez would have been good but it was an odd substitution.
The cameras picking up the black armband being thrown off was unfortunate but there was obviously no deliberate intent from Hernandez.
Bielsa has said that he’s not going to talk to Hernandez about it and we’re almost positive that the player will start against Palace on Saturday.
With Rodrigo out after testing positive for Coronavirus, Hernandez is needed and he’ll have a point to prove.
We think Leeds will have to be bang up for it offensively on Saturday against a Roy Hodgson side that is very solid defensively.
It’s going to take the right pass to unlock the defence and Hernandez is the man who can provide it.
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