Marcelo Bielsa insists he is glad Alexandre Lacazette did not see red after appearing to kick out at Gaetano Berardi during Arsenal’s 1-0 FA Cup victory over Leeds on Monday night.
After seeing the Championship visitors dominate the first half at Emirates Stadium, a second-half goal from Reiss Nelson was enough to fire the Gunners into the fourth round, where they will face Bournemouth. You can see the full draw here.
However, the game could have taken a different turn after VAR was called into action to review a tangle between Gunners captain-for-the-night Lacazette and Leeds’ no-nonsense defender Berardi, that resulted in the Frenchman kicking out at his Swiss opponent.
Leeds boss Bielsa, however, who admitted his frustration at his side’s second-half display in north London, said he was glad the Arsenal forward was not sent for an early bath.
“If he did that, and he did not take a red card, it’s better,” the widely-acclaimed Leeds boss said. “If they had been unfair with our player, maybe it would be a pity for us. But you never wish a red card for the opponent when things like this happen.
“It’s better to play 11 versus 11, I don’t like to claim things. But I say that because I didn’t realise this happened. I think the better thing to believe is that nothing happened because the VAR confirmed that.”
Should Alexandre Lacazette have received a card for this on Gaetano Berardi last night? 🤔pic.twitter.com/QVANzoDvBu
— TEAMtalk (@TEAMtalk) January 7, 2020
Bielsa’s side were unfortunate not to go into the interval with the lead after goalkeeper Emi Martinez was forced into several smart saves and United striker Patrick Bamford see an effort cannon off the crossbar.
And Lacazette admitted after the game that the Arsenal players had been given a half-time rocket from new manager Mikel Arteta.
“He [Arteta] shouted a lot, he was not happy because we knew they were going to play like this and we didn’t respect what he said,” Lacazette said. “In the second half it was a lot better and thank you Reiss for the goal.”