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“I can understand the supporters but my job is to take decisions that are best for the team” – Javi Gracia finally reveals why he refused to play Willy Gnonto Vs Leicester as Leeds fans vent frustration at treatment of winger

Leeds United boss Gracia responds to Elland Road Willy Gnonto frustration after Leicester draw

Javi Gracia felt Leeds United squandered a late chance to beat Leicester City at Elland Road after a draw that left him unsure of how to feel.

The head coach saw some value in the 1-1 draw but having taken a first-half lead he was disappointed not to put the game to bed. Gracia’s men took a first half lead through Luis Sinisterra, who then went off injured.

Leicester put the hosts under a sustained spell of pressure in the second half, which eventually paid off when Jamie Vardy hit the net. The Foxes striker thought he had scored a second too, before the offside flag went up.

At full-time there was almost a confused reaction from the Elland Road crowd, with a smattering of boos and a muted protest against director of football Victor Orta in the West Stand but applause too as the players showed their appreciation.

“To be honest in this moment I don’t know,” said Gracia when asked to sum up his feelings.

“We have one more point but after competing the game as we did, starting, leading and managing for the most part it’s hard to get only one point. Even after conceding we had the most clearest chance from a corner with Marc Roca. We have to keep going, to prepare the next game as best as possible and try to get the three points.”

Elland Road made its feelings clear that Gracia should have made changes as the second half progressed and Willy Gnonto’s name rang out on a number of occasions, but the Italian international remained an unused substitute. Crysencio Summerville and Brenden Aaronson were the men sent on by the head coach.

“I can understand all the feelings my supporters have but my job is try to take decisions and I try to take them thinking what is best for the team,” he said.

“In this game Willy could play, Georgi [Rutter], Adam [Forshaw] could play but when you are there and you have to decide you always look for what is best for the team. Knowing they’re very good players and in the next game for sure they will help the team.

“The position to be stronger was Brenden in front of two midfielders, with three players there to try and be a bit stronger without losing the options in counter and to have more options to attack. After that I tried to look for the option to substitute another player but I didn’t find the best opportunity.”

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