Brentford captain Pontus Jansson will be “sad” at helping former club Leeds relegated

PONTUS JANSSON will be ‘sad’ if he and Brentford relegate Leeds but accepts they may have to.

The Elland Road cult hero was booted out by Marcelo Bielsa in the summer of 2019 and eventually signed with the Bees for £5.5million.

Pontus Jansson knows he could help send Leeds back to the Championship


Pontus Jansson knows he could help send Leeds back to the ChampionshipCredit: Alamy
Jansson was popular at Elland Road before being booted out by Marcelo Bielsa


Jansson was popular at Elland Road before being booted out by Marcelo BielsaCredit: PA:Empics Sport

A 12-word tweet announced his departure: “Swedish defender Pontus Jansson left Leeds United today to join Brentford.”

No frills, no explanation and no loving farewell for a player who gave his heart and soul for three years.

Leeds excelled in their first top season in 16 years under Bielsa, finishing ninth.

But now, in the ultimate storyline, Jansson could deal the deathblow to his old side’s hopes of stopping them when Brentford host them tomorrow.

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The Sweden centre-back, 31, said: “Last year when they had a fantastic season in the Premier League I was obviously happy for them.

“But at the same time I was injured in the Championship, felt sorry and wanted to play with them and experience the Premier League.

“Now we’re both here. I remember watching the match schedule when it came out and I saw Leeds on the final day.

“I could see some nightmares. We have to win on the last day.

“We want to win so if that costs them a Premier League spot then obviously it’s going to be a sad day – but Brentford are my team now.”

Leeds’ current situation would have been worse if Pascal Struijk hadn’t scored a late equalizer against Brighton at Elland Road to temporarily lift them out of the last three.

Now they are back in the relegation zone and no longer in control of their destiny.

If Burnley matches their result, the Clarets are safe on goal difference by a wide margin.

The Bees were certainly safe from relegation on 43 points – but that was confirmed last week when Leeds lost to Chelsea.

Jansson added: “Thank goodness we’re mathematically sure because if we weren’t it was going to be a tough day.


“Now we want to finish as high as possible and get more points. At best, we’ll both stay up.

“All my former teammates are still here, so we talk a lot.

“When we played them in Leeds it was 2-2 and I said to my old team-mates I hope we’re both safe in the last game and neither of us has to fight relegation.”

The relationship between Jansson and Bielsa was strained.

Jansson respected the popular Argentine’s reputation around the world and his legacy at Leeds but found his distant personality difficult.

Bielsa, in turn, appreciated the Swede’s defensive brains and rated the centre-back as “our best player in the Championship” but seemed unenthusiastic about his attitude despite his contribution to Premier League promotion.

So the warmth of Thomas Frank and his no d***heads policy at Brentford was a welcome sight for the defender.

Asked what his reaction was to Bielsa leaving Leeds in February, ex-Malmo and Torino star Jansson said: “Mixed. I think it was the right decision because they were coming to an end.

“I respect Bielsa. He’s a fantastic manager but I think they ended up together.

“Jesse Marsch is a similar coach to Thomas when it comes to man management.

I prefer Thomas, he listens to his players differently than Bielsa

Pontus Janson

“Bielsa has his own way, that’s it. He doesn’t want to change.

“In a way, you have to respect that. He was one of the most respected coaches in the world.

“The best coaches have Bielsa as their idol, but I believe in leadership more than Bielsa.

“He wanted the best for me, the team and my personal development, but Thomas is much more open.

“He listens to his players differently than Bielsa, so I prefer Thomas.”

Jansson insisted he hadn’t left Leeds in 2019 because he ignored Bielsa’s decision to let Aston Villa score in the infamous game at Elland Road in April.

He publicly defied Bielsa when the manager ordered his players to let Villa annul Leeds’ controversial goal by trying to tackle Albert Adomah as he put the ball in the net.

The sometimes boisterous Swede was sold to Brentford two months later.

He says he’s less hotheaded now that he’s fathered two girls.

He added: “My wife had our second baby seven weeks ago.


“I used to have an aggressive personality, but since becoming a father to two girls, something positive has happened to me. I have become more relaxed and calm. Think more before I act.”

The 11th-placed Bees are just two points behind Brighton in 10th place ahead of tomorrow’s final.

The arrival of Christian Eriksen on deadline day in January was a huge catalyst for the club’s red-hot career after nine games without a win, including eight defeats.

They have lost just one of the nine games in which the ex-Spurs midfielder started.

And Jansson jokes he’s persuaded the Danish star, whose contract expires in the summer, to stick with the early breakfast.

He added: “We have a Scandinavian gang who have breakfast together every morning and we usually have breakfast at 9:15 but I’m always the first at 8:30.

“Eriksen comes in around 8:45 and we take him to our table and convince him to stay. He has salmon. I can’t stand it in the morning.

“I’ll talk to him for a minute and then leave the room! I have eggs and so on. He’s a fantastic guy.

“Even now I don’t think he’s made the final decision so let’s see what happens.

“He helped us a lot. If he’s not there next season we have to go ahead and take what he’s given us so far.”

BRENTFORD (probably): Raya, Ajer, Sorensen, Jansson, Henry, Mbeumo, Janelt, Norgaard, Eriksen, Canos, Toney. Brentford captain Pontus Jansson will be “sad” at helping former club Leeds relegated

Aila Slisco

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