Leeds coach Jesse Marsch frustrated by Aston Villa tactics in goalless draw

Leeds coach Jesse Marsch watched from the stands after his own recent red card  (PA Wire)
Leeds coach Jesse Marsch watched from the stands after his own recent red card (PA Wire)

Leeds boss Jesse Marsch refused to discuss referee Stuart Attwell’s display after his 10-man side held on to draw 0-0 with Aston Villa in the Premier League.

Marsch, watching from the stands due to a touchline ban, had no complaints about Leeds winger Luis Sinisterra’s controversial second-half dismissal for failing to retreat from a free kick. But the American took issue with Villa’s perceived time-wasting tactics, which started in the first half, as Attwell struggled to retain control of an ill-tempered game in which he booked five other players.

“Ask me another question, because I’m not commenting on the official,” said Marsch after home fans sang a chorus of “You’re not fit to referee,” upon the final whistle.

Marsch, sent off for arguing with the fourth official in Leeds’ recent defeat at Brentford, said: “I will be speaking to somebody from the league. I’ve already spoken to the refereeing committee, that this [slowing the game down] is clearly a tactic.

“Managers were told, and [offiicals] took up another hour-and-a-half of our time this week to remind us that they’re going to do better at controlling the run of play in matches.

“I didn’t create that dialogue. That’s not my agenda; that’s the league’s agenda.

“I feel bad for our fans when they have to watch that. They want to see an energetic game, so I’ll be discussing that with somebody. We will as a club.”

Colombia winger Sinisterra received his second yellow card for sticking out a leg to block Douglas Luiz’s quickly-taken free kick in the 48th minute. Attwell’s decision infuriated home fans, but Marsch blamed it on his player’s naivety.

“The second yellow is not an intelligent play and gets Luis in trouble and gets us in trouble,” Marsch said.

Luis Sinisterra (centre) protests his sending-off for Leeds (Getty Images)
Luis Sinisterra (centre) protests his sending-off for Leeds (Getty Images)

Villa went closest to breaking the deadlock when Philippe Coutinho’s second-half volley hit a post and Ollie Watkins headed the rebound wide.

Villa boss Steven Gerrard said he was more “frustrated than disappointed” after his side had failed to come out on top against 10 men. But the former England captain, who insisted Attwell “had a good game”, had little time for Marsch’s criticism of Villa’s time-wasting.

He said: “Was he happy with their time-wasting when they went [down] to 10? It works both ways.

“I’m not really interested in what Jesse thinks and his opinion. We’ll do what we need to do. We wanted to frustrate Leeds. Leeds are a team that want to get in rhythm, get in counter-press. They want to be aggressive, they play vertical.

“They want to run all over you. We slowed the game to our tempo, and we went to war when we needed to.”