Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa was keen to play down his part in the club receiving the FIFA Fair Play award this week.
United were recognised at the annual FIFA ceremony in Milan on Monday night after allowing Aston Villa to walk the ball into the net as their automatic promotion hopes were finally extinguished in the 1-1 draw.
Plenty has been said of Leeds’ winning of the award, with critics suggesting it was unfair given the Spygate charges that were brought against the club, but Bielsa insists the award reflected Leeds United well as he paid tribute to the staff around him.
“This is what I put in the letter. Benoit Delaval had him in the pitch to make this decision. Liam Cooper, the captain, he represents the players who to accept my order,” he said on Thursday. “Nobody’s used to allow a goal for the opponent for the reason I value the players, the supporters and the club because everybody accepted my decision and said nothing about it.
“Also, in the world there are a lot of people who, every day, choose the good thing to do and they do this to keep their dignity and they do to choose the correct thing even when they can avoid it.
— TEAMtalk (@TEAMtalk) September 24, 2019
“For me, this behaviour is similar to Leeds’ behaviour as well. Leeds have chosen to allow this goal and didn’t take the decision of the referee. I think, in the world, there are a lot of people doing the correct thing even if they have another path to choose.
“Also, I think the FIFA prize has this message for society.”
Asked if he was proud to receive the award, Bielsa continued: “It’s not just representing me. It’s a collective decision. I think the prize is for the club and the players rather than me.”
Get the latest personalised Whites products on our new TEAMtalk Leeds United shop!