We kick off our Play-Offs run against Derby County tomorrow, with just 180 minutes of football now all that stands between the Whites and a shot at securing a Premier League berth at Wembley.
To get the better of the Rams, manager Marcelo Bielsa is keen to have the ball in play as long as possible, and has fans on Twitter buzzing after stating that the players will not concede possession if an opposition player is down injured.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s first-leg at Pride Park, the boss said, as per quotes by the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Phil Hay: “The rules says the person who has to take the decision [to stop play] is the ref.”
After the scenes that unfolded against Aston Villa in the penultimate weekend of the regular season, it would be a fair assumption to see the boss’ claim as a reaction to what saw all but Pontus Jansson allow Albert Adomah to equalise.
Bielsa, though, refuted this suggestion on Thursday.
“This has nothing to do with the situation against Aston Villa because we feinted to put the ball out and didn’t,” he added. “I’m not talking about that [anymore]. We just want to find a solution to this moment of doubt.”
To avoid a repeat of the Villa bench’s touchline antics with Derby’s coaching staff, Bielsa will inform Frank Lampard and Rams captain Richard Keogh ahead of kick-off that we will not be kicking the ball out of play if one of their players is down injured.
Hopefully having the ball in play for longer periods of the game will help to see Bielsa guide us to a third – and then fourth – win over the Rams this season, having beaten Lampard’s side 4-1 on our previous venture to Pride Park.
For now, though, here’s how some of our fans reacted on Twitter to Bielsa stating that we will not concede possession…
I love Biesla so much! He’s so far above English football in talent, moral standings and pure entertainment
— Jon Gillingham (@JonGilly1988) May 9, 2019
I’m totally with Bielsa on this…. because he knows and we know all too well that Derby will be trying every trick in the book to stop us playing our game….. I just hope the ref lets the game flow aswell ????
— Stuart oldroyd (@stuart_oldroyd) May 9, 2019
Hooray! That is exactly the right thing to do and if it is necessary for us to explain this to the opposition ahead of every game then so be it. Well said Marcelo! #lufc
— David Watkins (@DaveLUFCWatkins) May 9, 2019
No quarter asked, none given. As it should be.
— James Evans (@jamesevans88) May 9, 2019
Absolutely spot on that from Bielsa, now players will have to decide if it’s worth feigning injury if they know that the ball is not going to be put out. Hope Derby agree to the same, makes so much sense.
— Eddie Repton ???????? ???????? ???????? (@eddiebikeride) May 9, 2019
Absolutely the best thing to do. Bielsa is some guy
— Dom (@dommer14) May 9, 2019
Good. Now make sure you practice penalties.
— Mob(Cap)Mentality (@M_C_Mentality) May 9, 2019
Yes. Absolutely spot on #lufc
— Eddie Hardcastle (@EddieGringo) May 9, 2019