Alan Irvine gets mad as Leeds get even in Norwich City’s 3-3 Championship giveaway

Steven Naismith was red carded for a foul on Ronaldo Vieira. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images L

Steven Naismith was red carded for a foul on Ronaldo Vieira. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Steven Naismith was not the only person on Norwich City duty at Elland Road who suffered the red mist.

Kyle Bartley bundled the ball over the Norwich City goal line for Leeds' second goal. Picture: Paul

Kyle Bartley bundled the ball over the Norwich City goal line for Leeds' second goal. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Naismith's dismissal for a lunging challenge on Ronaldo Vieira at the end of a breathless Championship encounter marked a sour finish to a game the Scottish international had sparked into life with his stunning 25-yard goal.

Nelson Oliveira's brace put Alan Irvine's visitors seemingly in control, but an inexcusable lapse in concentration gifted Chris Wood another goal to his growing tally seconds after Oliveira's curling strike.

That painful chain of events prompted a half-time rant from City's usually composed interim chief, which failed to have the desired effect when Kyle Bartley and Pablo Hernandez dragged Leeds level upon the restart.

'I was extremely angry and I told them how angry I was in no uncertain terms,' said Irvine. 'I went mad at half-time when I should have been telling them how good they had been. I told them what it did to the home crowd, who were ready to boo them off, and their players going into the dressing room. We spoilt an outstanding performance by a minute of, I actually described it as unprofessionalism, because you don't give people a chance to get back into games.


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'You make sure you do your jobs in the right manner but we had players out of position when they were taking the kick-off. That is not acceptable to me.

'I should have been sitting with a big smile on my face thinking what a great performance, but at half-time they saw a different side of me than they have seen before.'

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Naismith's own frustration spilled over when he caught Vieira in the final minute of normal time. The Scot will be ruled out of this week's Championship finale at home to QPR through suspension, but Irvine is in no doubt his compatriot should have a big role to play in the club's new era.

'It's a shame it finished the way it did,' he said. 'No complaints, though. I thought it might be a red from the moment the challenge went in. It was a mistimed tackle. It wasn't malicious and I expected the referee to show a red card, and wasn't surprised when he did. It's a real shame because he played really well. He has been a very important player for us of late. People underestimate how good a job he has done for us tactically. I like him as a player and a lad. He is selfless. He will do a job for the team at his own expense.

'If I was the head coach, I would want him to be here.

'Steven has a good football brain. He is doing his coaching badges and I think he'll make a good coach. He understands how it works and the early goal was the real icing on the cake for him.'

Irvine resisted the temptation to make changes until late on, after Leeds had stormed back, with Kyle Bartley profiting from fresh set piece vulnerability four minutes after half-time.

'It was something we highlighted before the game, in terms of the massive threat, and we knew that we couldn't give away too many set plays because they definitely had a height advantage overall,' he said. 'Their delivery is good as well. They put the ball into a dangerous area and they make you defend. For 45 minutes we did that really well and then we shot ourselves in the foot.

'But I felt we were still getting chances after that point. You look and say, 'Who do you take off?' Josh Murphy was still creating problems for them, Alex Pritchard was going to continue to cause them problems. I just felt Nelson was starting to run out of a little bit of steam, which is why I made that change.

'Any changes I would have made would have been more of a defensive thing. I didn't think we needed to do that or it was the right thing to do. If you put on Timm Klose earlier then that would have just invited Leeds on to us even more.

'We wanted to be a threat on the counter, and we didn't finish the chances we had created.'

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