By Nick Ware

4th Oct, 2021 | 4:10pm

Stephen Warnock: Leeds United were lucky with Watford disallowed goal

Stephen Warnock believes Leeds United were fortunate to escape from Elland Road without conceding against Watford on Saturday.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side picked up their first Premier League victory of the 2021/22 campaign as they beat the Hornets 1-0 via a Diego Llorente goal.

However, events may have transpired differently had Christian Kabasele not seen his effort ruled out for an apparent foul on Leeds captain Liam Cooper.

Former Premier League referee believes the right decision was made as he appeared on Sky Sports’ ‘Ref Watch’ [0410/21] programme on Monday morning.

“There’s no doubt they’re grabbing each other,” he said. “The ball goes in off Cooper. You can’t ignore that because it has such an impact on the ball.

“I think he was right to disallow it because when I saw what happened with Cooper that’s when I changed my mind. My first instinct was the goalkeeper struck the ball.”

However, ex-Liverpool defender Warnock disagreed. He said: “I thought it was a goal, there was enough of a 50-50 challenge to say ‘get on with the challenge between you’.

“Leeds and Cooper are lucky.”

Sue Smith added: “They’re both grappling with each other, it should be a goal in my opinion.”

Too close for comfort?

Regardless of whether one thinks it should have been allowed or not, there is a trend starting to emerge that Leeds fans have noticed.

There have been suggestions that Cooper gets too tight to his opponents and is overly physical, something that draws the attention of officials in the Premier League.

Cooper has risen through the English Football League divisions, and that’s why he probably uses his physicality so much – he’s had to, in order to survive and thrive in the lower leagues.

However, he is now facing much savvier individuals who are able to draw penalties at the drop of a hat – the combination of their speed of thought and sheer power makes them a formidable opponent.

Cooper needs to keep in mind that his actions could start to get noticed by referees, and an unwelcome reputation may develop.

In other Leeds United news, a BBC pundit has called for a lifetime ban after this Whites player incident.