Leeds United failed to achieve promotion to the Premier League after losing to Derby County in the play-offs last season.

Marcelo Bielsa led side had a good start, but eventually finished third in the table with 83 points, and their chance of achieving automatic promotion to the top flight was cut short after settling for a draw against Aston Villa in the penultimate league game.

Mateusz Klich opened the scoring for Leeds in the 72nd minute when Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia was left on the floor following a tackle from Liam Cooper.

However, the former Athletic Bilbao manager then instructed his players to allow Villa to score an uncontested goal, handing the equaliser over to the visitors, with the tie at Elland Road ending in a 1-1 draw.

FIFA awarded Bielsa and Leeds the FIFA Fair Play Award, which was collected by Cooper and Leeds fitness coach Benoît Delaval.

Embed from Getty Images

During an interview with La Void Du Nord, Delaval explained why he joined the club captain at the FIFA’s award ceremony last month.

“Marcelo turned to me and asked me if we were doing it (allowing them to score). I said ‘Yes, we are’. That’s why he asked me to go and receive the award with the captain on his behalf,” he explained.

Delaval even heaped praise on Bielsa. He said: “With Marcelo, we have a trust we develop every day. I am rigorous, a bit like him. He is a hard worker and I think I am too.”

“We have a lot in common. He cares a lot about the athletic aspect, so it’s interesting for me to work with him because he keeps pushing the players.”