Huddersfield Town face a tricky opening fixture against Derby County on their return to the Championship, while Fulham play newly promoted Barnsley first up.

Huddersfield and Fulham were relegated from the Premier League last season, along with Cardiff City, but start the new campaign with contrasting fixtures.

Beaten play-off finalists Derby - managed by Frank Lampard, the favourite for the Chelsea job - go to Huddersfield to conclude the opening round of fixtures on August 5.

Jan Siewert's side face a particularly tough start, with Fulham and Cardiff also on the agenda in their first four matches.

The season starts on August 2 with League One winners Luton Town hosting Middlesbrough, while Charlton Athletic travel to Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff visit Wigan Athletic the following day.

The regular season will end on May 2, with Leeds United versus Charlton perhaps the pick of the final-day fixtures.

The 'spygate' saga from 2018-19 saw Leeds and Derby forge a rivalry that included a play-off semi-final win for Lampard's men, and they play at Elland Road on September 21, before a crunch clash at Pride Park on the penultimate weekend.

Cardiff's relegation means a reprisal of the South Wales derby with Swansea City on October 26 and January 11.

Luton host Fulham on Boxing Day, while West Brom - also beaten play-off semi-finalists - entertain Leeds on New Year's Day.

Leeds United should consider selling star centre-back Pontus Jansson and allow youngsters the chance to impress, according to former manager Simon Grayson.

Marcelo Bielsa could face a fight over his most talented players following the failure to win promotion to the Premier League.

Young winger Jack Clarke has been linked to Tottenham, while Aston Villa are rumoured to be monitoring midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

Top scorer Kemar Roofe is also entering the final season of his contract and Grayson advised his ex-employers to focus first and foremost on retaining their crop of young prospects.

He thinks selling Jansson, who has been linked with Premier League clubs including Wolves and Newcastle United as well as Benfica, would not necessarily be a bad decision.

"There are other players I would want to keep ahead of Pontus Jansson," Grayson told Omnisport. "People like Kalvin Phillips and Jack Clarke, the younger players who can be the bedrock of Leeds for the next few years.

"I think Jansson does well when he concentrates on what he is there to do, in terms of being a defender

"Of course, they want to try and keep hold of them if possible, but players have been sold in the past to finance the next group of players.

"Roofe has proved he is goalscorer and Phillips, with his versatility and age, his ability on the ball, he is such a key player for what Leeds have done this season.

"I think he has a really bright future in front of him and let's hope they can keep hold of him."

It could be a period of upheaval at Elland Road with Qatari Sports Investments, the group that controls Paris Saint-Germain, reportedly in talks to acquire at least a minority stake from owner Andrea Radrizzani.

Fresh investment would boost the Yorkshire club's bid to end a 15-year absence from the Premier League but Grayson, whose Leeds side sat second at Christmas in 2010, believes they might already be there had Bielsa been more aggressive in the transfer market.

Leeds failed to land top target Daniel James from Swansea City in January and surrendered second spot to Sheffield United, before losing out in the play-offs to Derby County.

"I think personally I would have strengthened in January," Grayson said.

"When I was in charge of Leeds I wasn't given that opportunity. I think Bielsa was given that opportunity, but he just didn't want to do it.

"That was his decision, but I just felt they were a couple of players short of getting over the line."

Former England goalkeeper Rob Green has announced his retirement from football at the age of 39.

Green was part of the Chelsea squad that celebrated winning the Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku this week.

The goalkeeper started the 2010 World Cup as England's first choice between the posts but was dropped after making an error against the United States in the Three Lions' tournament opener.

Green joined Chelsea on a free transfer last year after leaving Huddersfield Town but did not make a competitive appearance for the Blues.

"Following an incredible evening in Baku on Wednesday and after a 23-year career spanning three decades, I've decided that now is the right time to announce my retirement from professional football," Green said in a statement posted on Chelsea's website.

"Being part of the group and celebrations with such a special squad of players after winning the Europa League seems a fitting way to end what's been an amazing journey for me in the game.

"I've loved every moment and feel privileged to have enjoyed the career I have. I've played with, and against, some of best players in the world and have experienced so much that professional football has to offer.

"I've had the joy of representing some fantastic clubs, all of whom have helped to shape me in their own varying way. Thank you to all of the fans and everybody connected with Norwich City, West Ham, QPR, Leeds United, Huddersfield Town and Chelsea.

"Representing my country will always be one of my proudest achievements and I feel honoured to have played for England.

"Thank you to all of the managers, coaches and staff I've worked with and thank you to all of the team-mates that I've shared a dressing room with over the years.

"Collectively we've shared some amazing times and I leave the game with memories that I'll always treasure."

Leeds United have confirmed that Marcelo Bielsa will remain as their manager for the 2019-20 Championship season.

The Argentinian was a surprise appointment prior to 2018-19 and came close to masterminding a long-awaited return to the Premier League.

After pushing for automatic promotion for much of the campaign, Leeds ended up in the play-offs and were dumped out by Derby County in the semi-finals. 

The Elland Road club, though, have seen enough from Bielsa to suggest he can steer them towards promotion next season and activated their option to extend the 63-year-old's contract for another 12 months.

A statement on the club's official website read: "Leeds are delighted to confirm that chairman Andrea Radrizzani has officially exercised the option to extend Marcelo Bielsa's contract for a second season.

"Marcelo has met with the board of directors on a number of occasions over the past few days and has confirmed his intention to continue on in his role of head coach."

Radrizzani added: "We were close and next season we will work harder to achieve our goal.

"So, let's have another go. I am delighted that Marcelo has agreed to stay for another year – we have unfinished business."

Marcelo Bielsa indicated he is willing to stay at Leeds United despite their defeat to Derby County in the Championship play-offs.

Derby lost the first leg 1-0 and were trailing in the second clash at Elland Road on Wednesday before turning the match on its head to run out 4-2 winners on the night and 4-3 on aggregate. 

Former Argentina and Chile coach Bielsa signed a two-year deal on his June 2018 arrival at Leeds, who led the Championship table at Christmas but missed out on automatic promotion in the closing weeks.

"As you can imagine, it is not convenient to talk about this right now," Bielsa told reporters after Leeds' 15-year exile from the Premier League was extended.

"You know about this process. If the club offers me the possibility to carry on, I will listen to this proposal."

Gaetano Berardi's red card contributed to Leeds' downfall, with Jack Marriott scoring twice off the bench for the Rams, but Bielsa accepted responsibility for his side's failure to make it to Wembley.

"There have been mistakes and that leads to doubts about the head coach," said Bielsa, who was dejected at the full-time whistle.

"If you have resources to reach something and you don't reach it, if you face the difficulties you have to face and you have the possibility to reach the goal and you don't reach it, we have to assume the worst possibility. I couldn't find a solution and it's my job to find solutions.

"It is a painful situation and we are very disappointed. There was a loss of control. As managers, we should provide a solution, giving strong structures, but we had 20 minutes of disorder. We have many things to take into account."

Lampard and veteran left-back Ashley Cole will now face former Chelsea team-mate John Terry - assistant at Villa - for a place in the Premier League on May 27 and he celebrated wildly with his players after beating Leeds in a bad-tempered clash that also saw Scott Malone sent off. 

The former England midfielder and his players reclaimed the version of Oasis classic 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out' sung by Leeds fans in reference to the 'spygate' scandal engulfing Bielsa earlier in the year and Lampard hailed his young team's achievement.

"It means such a great deal," said Lampard, who is in his first season as a manager. "From the day I came in, we had issues. Every club in the Championship has issues, but it was about how can we bring the average age of the squad down, how can we bring energy into the team.

"There have been ups and downs on the way, including losing the first leg at home. In terms of personal achievement, it's up there with anything I've achieved, the way I'm feeling right now. I'm very proud of everyone.

"They say emotions are intensified as a manager and it's definitely true. I got caught up in it, but I do aim high. Maybe I was naive to do that because I was aware of the financial issues we had. I knew we had to sell players, loan players and because it's been so tough, it's more than I could have imagined the way it's turned out.

"I won't take back those celebrations because we've strived for it. Once they've enjoyed [the celebrations], it's heads down, get some rest and be ready for it. It'll be a test. Villa are a really great outfit and we'll be underdogs again."

Derby County came from behind to beat Leeds United 4-2 at Elland Road and book a showdown with Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final.

Leeds secured a 1-0 win at the weekend – a third victory out of three against Derby this season for Marcelo Bielsa's men in a rivalry that simmered in the aftermath of the "spygate" controversy.

Bielsa's opposite number Frank Lampard had the last laugh, however, with Jack Marriott's introduction from the bench proving pivotal as the forward struck a decisive brace.

Leeds full-back Stuart Dallas also hit a double but his defensive colleagues malfunctioned after his opener, with Mason Mount on target and Harry Wilson converting a 58th-minute penalty before each team had a player sent off.

Bolstered by their first-leg advantage, Leeds seemed intent on ending the argument as they pinned Derby back during the opening stages.

The visitors held out for 24 minutes, when Kalvin Phillips' free-kick swung in from the left and came back off the post to leave Dallas with a tap-in.

Mateusz Klich then saw a deflected drive hit the crossbar but Derby levelled against the run of play on the stroke of half-time – substitute Marriott having an instant impact as he capitalised on a mix-up between Liam Cooper and Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

Mount hauled Derby level in a tie turned on its head 38 seconds into the second half, digging out a fabulous finish to cap a solo run, and the woefully erratic Casilla was similarly helpless when Cooper pulled back Mason Bennett to concede a penalty that Wilson converted.

As the chant from Derby's away following suggested, Leeds appeared to be falling apart, only for Dallas to dart onto Klich's cute pass and clinically dispatch his second of the game.

Dallas' fellow full-back Luke Ayling almost restored Leeds' aggregate advantage when he exchanged passes with Patrick Bamford and shot wide.

But a period in the ascendancy for Bielsa's side ended when Gaetano Berardi received a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Bradley Johnson in the 78th minute.

Five minutes from time, Keogh played in Marriott for a delightful dinked finish and Derby held out despite Scott Malone's stoppage-time dismissal meaning a breathless encounter ended 10 versus 10.

Kemar Roofe's goal handed Leeds United a 1-0 lead in their Championship play-off semi-final against Derby County, who controversially had a penalty overturned.

With neither side having had a shot on target in a tightly contested first half at Pride Park, Marcelo Bielsa's team went ahead thanks to Roofe's neat first-time strike 10 minutes into the second half.

Referee Craig Pawson did well to play the advantage following a late lunge by Tom Lawrence, with Jack Harrison driving clear down the left before curling in a cross for Roofe to finish beyond the onrushing Kelle Roos.

Roofe squandered a golden chance to make it 2-0 two minutes later, and that profligacy looked to have been punished when Pawson awarded Frank Lampard's side a penalty after Harrison and Jayden Bogle collided in the 76th minute.

However, the referee changed his decision after a check with his assistant and awarded Leeds a free-kick, much to Derby's chagrin.

Leeds could have doubled their lead in the closing stages, but Roos made a fine save to deny Jamie Shackleton, while Mateusz Klich was fortunate to escape with just a booking when he moved his head towards Fikayo Tomori's chest late on.

And despite a late rally from the hosts, Leeds held firm to record their third win over Derby this term and take a slender advantage into the return match at Elland Road on Wednesday.

Frank Lampard claimed the 'Spygate' scandal that heightened tensions between Leeds United and Derby County earlier in the season is not on his mind ahead of the Championship play-off semi-final between the two clubs.

Marcelo Bielsa's admission that he sent spies to Derby's training ground ahead of Leeds' 2-0 victory over the Rams at Elland Road in January left Lampard "very surprised" and he condemned the former Argentina coach's actions, saying: "I don't think it's right".

Derby's 3-1 victory over West Brom on the final day of the league campaign set up a two-legged clash to determine who will face Aston Villa or the Baggies at Wembley for a place in the Premier League.

But Lampard deflected questions about whether the saga would have any bearing on the tie, telling the Guardian: "I want to take myself out of that one now.

"I don't care about the history. I don't care about the talk of spies, I actually care about the fact they beat us well over two games and have been a really strong team this season.

"I'll block all of that out and might have to fend off a few questions about it, but the important thing is focusing on Leeds as a team and trying to get a result."

Derby lost both of their Championship games against Leeds this season, succumbing to a 4-1 thrashing at Pride Park in August before January's defeat away from home.

Leeds head into Saturday's first leg without a win in four matches, however, while hosts Derby are unbeaten in six.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa reacted angrily when asked by a journalist if he would 'spy' on Derby County again ahead of the Championship play-off semi-final.

Bielsa paid a £200,000 fine given to Leeds after the English Football League sanctioned the club for breaching rules relating to treating opposition teams with the "utmost good faith".

Managers including Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino criticised Bielsa after he admitted sending a staff member to watch all his opponents in training, the story emerging ahead of a game against Derby in January.

The clubs are set to meet again in the play-offs this month after Frank Lampard's Rams won 3-1 at home to West Brom on Sunday to claim sixth spot ahead of Middlesbrough, with Leeds finishing third despite their loss at relegated Ipswich Town.

After his side went down 3-2 against the 10-man Tractor Boys, a result he described as an "accident", Bielsa was asked if there could be a repeat of the 'Spygate' row and he was unimpressed with the line of questioning.

"You know that it's a crime to spy. Do you know that? Do you know it was a crime?" Bielsa said at his post-match news conference.

"When you have a level of ignorance and you work as a journalist, and when you have a right to ask questions and when you lie in your answers and you don't assume the irony and you keep telling what you ignore - if spying is a crime or not - you deserve a response without any conclusion.

"You make your question knowing that observing the opponent is now sanctioned, you know it perfectly and you ask. You deny the fact that you know the answer and you know I received a sanction.

"Is it a joke? If it was I don't understand it. But it's not because I don't have a sense of humour.

"You're not funny."

Lampard's first season as a manager has seen him successfully lead Derby to a top-six finish but he feels the Rams face a major challenge to reach the Premier League.

"The achievement is great to be in that bracket, with Leeds and Aston Villa, but we're massive underdogs. Let's just enjoy that tag and see what we can do," he told Sky Sports.

"I know who they [Leeds] are, I've been asked it a million times. All the history is history. These are two massive games against a team that looked like they were going to run away with it this year.

"We're going to give it everything. I think there will be motivation for everyone at the club. What we as staff and players have to do is take that away and think, 'What can we do over these two matches to win them and [get] a potential game at Wembley?'

"Take away all the spying talk, we didn't play well in either of those games and Leeds beat us well and beat us true. They were good lessons to learn.

"When I talk about us being underdogs I truly believe it. I think they're a fantastic team. We've been more inconsistent than them without a doubt, so there you go."

Norwich City lifted the Championship trophy after a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa saw them fend off the challenge of Sheffield United on a final day that also saw Derby County secure a place in the play-offs.

Derby's 3-1 win over West Brom, who ended the season in fourth, ensured Frank Lampard's men finished sixth ahead of Middlesbrough, who did all they could by beating Rotherham United 2-1.

Leeds United's place in the play-offs was already assured but a 3-2 defeat against the 10 men of already-relegated Ipswich Town left Marcelo Bielsa's men winless in four, while Bristol City, who could have secured a top-six finish if Derby and Middlesbrough slipped up, drew 1-1 at Hull City.

Second-placed Sheffield United, who drew 2-2 at Stoke City, will have the luxury of sitting back and watching while Leeds, West Brom, Villa and Derby contest the Championship play-offs.

 

LATE VRANCIC STRIKE ADDS GLOSS TO CANARIES' GLORY

Mario Vrancic scored Norwich's winner four minutes from time to send their travelling fans wild on a day when Daniel Farke's men were bidding to claim the Championship title.

In the end Sheffield United's draw at Stoke rendered the Canariers' result irrelevant, but it will not have felt that way to Farke and his players who capped a fine season with a win over one of the division's form teams.

Villa were unbeaten in 12 going into the game but they fell behind when Teemu Pukki tapped home Onel Hernandez's cross after seven minutes.

Jonathan Kodjia levelled matters seven minutes later, sweeping Conor Hourihane's low free-kick into the net, and Dean Smith's side looked the better side for spells before Vrancic rifled a shot into the bottom corner of Jed Steer's net from the edge of the box to put the sheen on a day of celebrations across Norfolk.

DERBY SECURE SIXTH AFTER DRAMA AT PRIDE PARK

Derby County clinched a place in the Championship play-offs at Middlesbrough's expense after they beat West Brom 3-1 at Pride Park.

Lampard's men took the lead when Martyn Waghorn rose to meet Jayden Bogle's first-time cross, timing his run well to shake off his marker and nod the ball down into the bottom corner of the net.

Waghorn limped off injured after 40 minutes and Stefan Johansen's equaliser for West Brom meant that Middlesbrough – who were 2-0 up at Rotherham at the time – were set to take the Rams' place in the top six.

But after Tom Lawrence's close-range shot was saved by Sam Johnstone's outstretched leg, Mason Bennett pounced on the rebound and poked it into the net to restore Derby's lead.

Lawrence then jinked his way into the area only to be felled by Kyle Bartley, and Harry Wilson buried the penalty kick in the bottom-left corner of the net before Baggies substitute Hal Robson-Kanu was sent-off for kicking out at Bradley Johnson.

LEEDS SLUMP TO THIRD DEFEAT IN FOUR

A calamitous mix-up between Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla and defender Luke Ayling gifted a winning goal to Collin Quaner, who slid the ball home to earn already-relegated Ipswich a win over Bielsa's out-of-sorts side.

Flynn Downes put Town ahead when the visitors failed to clear their lines at a free-kick, but Mateusz Klich popped up with an equaliser just before the interval, slamming the ball inside the near post from 12 yards.

Andre Dozzell restored Ipswich's lead as Leeds were caught napping at the back two minutes into the second half, before Stuart Dallas equalised from close range when Kemar Roofe's shot rebounded off the crossbar.

Luke Chambers felled Roofe three minutes later and was sent off before the Leeds striker ballooned the ensuing penalty over the bar, and in the final minute the visiting fans were left in disbelief as their side slumped to a third defeat in four matches heading into the play-offs.

THREE POINTS NOT ENOUGH FOR BORO

John Obi Mikel scored his first league goal in English football for almost six years as Middlesbrough beat Rotherham, but a fifth win in six Championship matches was not enough to lift Tony Pulis' men into the play-off places.

Elsewhere, Brentford ended the season on a high as they beat Preston North End 3-0 at Griffin Park, and there were also wins for Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic, while Birmingham City drew 0-0 at Reading and Blackburn Rovers were held to a 2-2 draw by Swansea City.

Marcelo Bielsa says he paid Leeds United's £200,000 Spygate fine out of his own pocket.

The English Football League sanctioned Leeds in February after finding the Championship club guilty of breaching rules relating to treating opposition teams with the "utmost good faith".

Bielsa admitted to observing each of his rivals' training sessions and, speaking ahead of the trip to Ipswich Town on Sunday, claimed he stumped up the six-figure sum his club were ordered to pay.

"The sanction I received that the federation [Football Association] gave us - £200,000 - is a financial sanction the club received, not against me, but I am responsible for it and that's why I paid from my pocket the financial sanction," Bielsa told reporters.

Leeds are set to be dealt another fine after being charged by the FA for failing to control their players during last weekend's dramatic draw against Aston Villa, a melee having broken out after Mateusz Klich played on and scored as Jonathan Kodjia lay injured on the floor.

Bielsa instructed his players to let Villa equalise and the eventual 1-1 draw ended his side's slim hopes of winning automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Speculation has mounted over whether the former Argentina boss will stay on at Elland Road should the season end in play-off heartbreak, but Bielsa denied a potential second campaign in charge is dependent on which division Leeds find themselves in.

"I have never said that if we don't get promoted that I won't carry on my work here," he said.

"I haven't said I was going to leave and I haven't said I was going to stay. I just said it wasn't the moment to talk about the subject and I just said it's about receiving the proposal and then accepting the proposal or not.

"I would never say that if we stay in the Championship that I won't stay here, otherwise you would say the importance of the team, this club, is linked to the division in which it plays.

"For me, this team and club is important, whether they play in the Premier League, Championship or League One.

"I don't want people to think I'm not thankful, because if after the year I have spent here I only limit my valuation to the fact they play in one division or the other, then I am not tactful."

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford has been banned for two games by the Football Association (FA) after being found guilty of successfully deceiving a match official.

Aston Villa forward Anwar El Ghazi was dismissed following a clash with Bamford during Sunday's controversial 1-1 draw with Leeds at Elland Road.

A melee had broken out in the aftermath of Mateusz Klich's 72nd-minute opening goal, which was scored immediately after the hosts opted not to kick the ball out of play to allow Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia to receive treatment.

However, television replays indicated contact between El Ghazi and Bamford was minimal, with the Villa midfielder having his suspension rescinded.

Bamford, who the FA said denied the charge, will miss Leeds' last Championship game of the season at relegated Ipswich Town, as well as the first leg of the play-off semi-final.

"It was alleged that the Leeds United player's behaviour in the 72nd minute of the EFL Championship fixture against Aston Villa on Sunday [28/04/2019], in committing a clear act of simulation which led to the dismissal of an opponent, amounted to improper conduct," an FA statement said.

"Whilst the forward denied the charge, it was subsequently found proven during an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today [02/05/2019]."

Leeds claimed Bamford did not deny the charge but the club wanted to challenge his punishment, which they felt he should have avoided due to the actions of their head coach Marcelo Bielsa during the bad-tempered game.

"Whilst Patrick Bamford did not deny the charge of successful deception of a match official following our Championship game against Aston Villa on Sunday, the club did request a hearing to contest the penalty imposed on the player," Leeds said.

"The club felt that given the circumstances surrounding the incident, including the extraordinary act of sportsmanship which saw our head coach Marcelo Bielsa demand our team to allow Aston Villa to score an uncontested equaliser, we could have a sensible discussion around the sanction.

"We acknowledge that the FA panel did not feel that to be reasonable and the club therefore joins Patrick in accepting the two-match ban."

Leeds slipped to third in the Championship table after back-to-back league losses to Wigan Athletic and Brentford last month effectively handed promotion to Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United, who will join leaders Norwich City in the Premier League.

The Football Association (FA) has overturned Aston Villa midfielder Anwar El Ghazi's red card from the draw with Leeds United and charged Patrick Bamford with deceiving a match official.

Leeds striker Bamford and El Ghazi were involved in an altercation in the aftermath of Mateusz Klich's 72nd-minute goal, scored after the hosts refused to put the ball out of play to allow Jonathan Kodjia to receive treatment.

Bamford went down holding his face as El Ghazi swung an arm in his direction, even though contact was minimal.

El Ghazi's subsequent dismissal for violent conduct has now been rescinded, while Bamford has until Wednesday to respond to his charge of "successful deception of a match official".

In addition, both clubs have been charged with failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion shortly after Klich's controversial goal. They have until Friday to provide a response.

The game finished 1-1, with Leeds allowing Albert Adomah to equalise unchallenged – despite the best efforts of Pontus Jansson – immediately after Klich's strike.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa later said he felt it was in keeping with the spirit of English football to allow Villa to score.

The result meant Sheffield United were guaranteed promotion to the Premier League, along with Norwich City, meaning Leeds will contest the play-offs.

Marcelo Bielsa thinks it was in keeping with the spirit of English football for Leeds United to allow Aston Villa to score in Sunday's 1-1 Championship draw.

The home side were held at Elland Road, a result that means Sheffield United join Norwich City in securing automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Leeds would have mathematically had a chance of pipping Chris Wilder's side to second place in the table with a win, and it looked as though three points were on the cards when Mateusz Klich broke the deadlock 72 minutes in after the hosts refused to put the ball out of play and allow Jonathan Kodjia treatment.

A bust-up on the pitch ensued, with Anwar El Ghazi sent off for a clash with Patrick Bamford, but Bielsa then ordered his players to allow Albert Adomah to equalise following the restart.

Explaining his decision to Sky Sports, Leeds boss Bielsa said: "We just gave the goal back. Everyone saw the facts. We expressed our interpretation of the facts by doing what we did.

"English football is known for this [sportsmanship]. I don't have to comment on this kind of thing, which is common in England."

Villa boss Dean Smith praised Bielsa and Leeds for their actions after admitting he had asked his opposite number to allow them the chance to score.

"I asked him, and he went, 'No, I agree'. I think they all agreed," said Smith. "He was apologising, so I said they should let us walk a goal in. They had a talk about it and said 'okay'. I'm full of respect for them for that.

"Klich's just apologised to me after the game. He said, 'I shouldn't have done that, it's wrong'. But every credit to Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa for giving us the opportunity to put that right."

Smith also confirmed Villa will appeal against El Ghazi's red card, which was rewarded after Bamford reacted theatrically when the Dutchman swung an arm in his direction.

"I've seen it back and I think everyone else has, so I'll be absolutely amazed if that's not rescinded. We will certainly appeal that," he said.

Sheffield United's promotion to the Premier League was rubber-stamped on Sunday after Leeds United drew 1-1 at home to Aston Villa, with Marcelo Bielsa seemingly ordering his side to allow the visitors to walk in their equalising goal.

Leeds' own hopes of climbing out of the Championship after 15 years away from the top flight had realistically slipped away thanks to successive defeats at the hands of Wigan Athletic and Brentford.

A bad-tempered first half saw both sides trade blows at Elland Road, Stuart Dallas going close with a long-range strike and John McGinn failing to make the most of a good headed chance, while Bielsa was booked for protesting to referee Stuart Attwell.

Villa, on a run of 10 straight league wins, should have taken the lead in the 53rd minute when Jonathan Kodjia blasted a great chance over the Leeds crossbar.

But the game exploded in the 72nd minute when Mateusz Klich curled in the opener, Villa feeling the ball should have been kicked out with Kodjia lying injured on the turf after a challenge in the build-up.

A mass brawl saw Attwell lose control, before he sent off Anwar El Ghazi for a clash with Leeds striker Patrick Bamford, who appeared to exaggerate any contact.

In response, Bielsa could be seen furiously gesticulating at his team, with Albert Adomah allowed to run through unopposed and slot in, although defender Pontus Jansson appeared to ignore his manager's message by trying to stop the winger.

Leeds needed a late winner to make Sheffield United wait, Tyler Roberts having an effort cleared off the line in added time, but a play-off final reunion against Villa - whose goalkeeper Jed Steer was struggling with injury late on - is now quite possible.

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