Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani doubles down on Karen Carney criticism despite Twitter storm

Leeds United: Marcelo Bielsa celebrates promotion with players

Leeds United’s decision to call out pundit Karen Carney on Twitter after her comments in the build-up to yesterday’s emphatic victory has caused a Twitter storm but instead of looking to deescalate the situation, the club’s owner Andrea Radrizzani has thrown more fuel on the fire. Carney is an England legend after earning 144 caps for her country and was praised by many for her punditry during Amazon Prime’s broadcast of Leeds United’s emphatic 5-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

But Leeds United’s official Twitter account took exception to comments made by the former Arsenal, Chelsea and Birmingham City star in the build up to the match.

Carney said: “They (Leeds) out-run everyone and credit to them. My only concern would be, ‘would they blow up at the end of the season?’

“We saw that in the last couple of seasons and I actually think they got promoted because of Covid in terms of it gave them a bit of respite. I don’t know whether they would have gone up if they didn’t have that break.”

Fellow Amazon pundit and ex-Leeds striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink appeared to agree with Carney’s view.

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The comment of “I actually think they got promoted because of Covid” has angered Leeds players, staff and fans after they won the Championship by ten points last season.

But Carney’s comments refer to the long-standing view of some that Marcelo Bielsa’s sides can sometimes burnout due to high intensity in which they play.

It is an accusation which has been thrown his way before he arrived in Leeds, including when his Marseille team dropped from first to fourth in Ligue 1 despite leading the way after 19 games.

And Leeds’ capitulation in the 2018/19 campaign did little to remove that view, after they lost three and drew one of their last four matches of the regular season to drop outside of the automatic promotion places before losing to Derby County in the play-offs.

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Carney believes the enforced break during last season due to COVID allowed the Leeds players to recharge their batteries before going on to win the Championship at a canter.

But Leeds fans have been quick to point out their side won the five games leading up to March’s break, without conceding any goals, and won seven of their last nine matches when the season concluded in July.

After last night’s game, Leeds’ official account tweeted:

“‘Promoted because of Covid’
Won the league by 10 points
Hi @primevideosport”

Several players who were part of the promotion-winning side also responded, with Mateusz Klich and defender Ben White – who was on loan from Brighton last season – posting emoji responses on Twitter to laugh at Carney’s comments.

Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling was another to criticise Carney, adding: “Leeds so lucky that Covid intervened. They had only won five in a row before the season suspended. Clearly running out of steam!!!”

But many other broadcasters, journalists and former players hit out at the club, including ex-Leeds and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who said the post should be taken down.

However, Radrizzani stood by the club’s social media post and described Carney’s comments as “disrespectful”.

On his own Twitter account, he posted: “I take the responsibility of the club tweet. I consider that comment completely unnecessary and disrespectful to our club and particularly to the fantastic hard work of our players and coaches whom were understanding [sic] on the pitch for the last two Championship seasons by all stats.”

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