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Leeds United are at the fore of football news once more this week, after Liam Bridcutt charged into a questionable tackle during his international match for Scotland against Denmark, in his first appearance in Scottish football in the last three years. Coming in the same week as Souleymane Doukara received an eight match ban for biting Fulham defender Fernando Amorebieta during a Championship game back in February it only goes to enforce the Dirty Leeds image.
Ten minutes from time, the midfielder currently on loan from Sunderland made a two footed tackle against Celtic player Erik Sviatchenko. As the lunge unfolded, Bridcutt was only given a yellow card, however, since various playbacks of the footage, the Leeds United player has come under immense fire. Although Scott Brown the current Scotland captain, has given his full backing of the tackle, claiming that it was fair, many others, including some Danish players, have heavily criticised the action. Sviatchenko, who arrived in Scotland in January, has since brushed it off as just being ‘Scottish football’;
"I am still standing. I am okay. My knee is still there. That's Scottish football, I am getting used to it. I am all right, but it was a harsh tackle."
Although the foul took place away from Leeds, the blow hits hard at an already turbulent club as a lot still remains unknown about the future of its current manager. Various odds have been given from the likes of Coral, speculating on whether the team will defy relegation, and whether Steve Evans will be sacked, with plenty of updates pouring in on a regular basis. With the team only clear of the drop zone by ten points, and with nine games remaining, more scrutiny aimed at the club threatens to alter the balance, a factor that ex striker Noel Whelan can’t ignore. Despite the fact that relegation currently seems a long shot, Whelan has warned that while there is a possibility to fail, caution and focus is needed.
In retellings of the latest blunder to beset Leeds, the January Celtic signing stated that he was lucky to have not suffered a serious injury, and that Bridcutt could have broken his leg. Sviatchenko continued by commenting that, while the referee had to call the decision in a matter of minutes, he believed he had touched the ball first. What is more, that Bridcutt came at him with ‘all he had’. A sentiment that is shared by Age Hareide, Denmark manager, who gave his opinions on the spectacle during a press conference; clearly dismayed by what he saw, he does claim that he believes no ill intent was meant towards the Celtic midfielder, but that action is needed.
Bridcutt has finally reacted to defend his actions, calling the apparent dangerous lunge a ‘normal Championship tackle’, and that anyone who knows his style knows that he goes in 100 per cent. In a similar vein to Hareide, Leeds United coach Steve Evans has hit back at the fuss that is being generated about a perfectly acceptable tackle, something which is sure to add more tension throughout the team’s ranks.