Noel Whelan has insisted Marcelo Bielsa should not react to Pontus Jansson defying his orders against Aston Villa by axing him from the Leeds United XI this weekend.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds striker claimed Jansson was out of order for ignoring Bielsa’s instruction for United to allow Villa to walk in an equaliser in last Sunday’s explosive 1-1 draw.
Jansson was visibly furious that the Yorkshire giants put third place in the Championship at risk after Mateusz Klich had controversially scored the opener.
This has led to speculation Bielsa will axe defensive mainstay Jansson from the Leeds XI as they prepare for their final match of the Championship campaign against bottom club Ipswich Town at Portman Road before turning their attention to the play-off semi-finals.
“I don’t think he will be dropped, that would be a big mistake,” Whelan told Football Insider. “Yes, he defied his manager and, when you get the message from the manager, you have to abide by his wishes. Rightly or wrongly, Jansson should not have reacted that way.
“But Jansson has a big part to play in the final stage of the season. He is an important figure alongside Liam Cooper at the back and Leeds need him for the play-offs.
“Despite the strange events against Villa, I was really delighted with the way that Leeds performed. They were aggressive, fluent and dominated the game even when Villa had 11 men on the pitch.”
Leeds will secure third place in the Championship and a play-off against one of Derby County, Middlesbrough or Bristol City if they secure at least a draw at Portman Road.
That would mean Villa and West Brom then contesting the other play-off semi-final.
In other Leeds United news, it can be revealed that Marcelo Bielsa has high first-team hopes for loaned-out 22-year-old who has caught his eye.