Marcelo Bielsa reacts as Leeds United are dumped out of FA Cup by Crawley Town

A despondent Marcelo Bielsa admitted he was filled with ‘sadness’ after his Leeds United side crashed out of the FA Cup at the third-round stage, with Crawley Town blowing their Premier League opposition away in an outstanding second performance on Sunday.

Leeds were on top in the opening 45 minutes of the tie but a flurry of goals from Nick Tsaroulla, Ashley Nadesan and Jordan Tunnicliffe after the break sealed a famous 3-0 victory for Crawley and ensured the visitors became the fifth top-flight team to be knocked out of this year’s competition.

The League Two outfit will discover their fourth-round opponents in Monday night’s draw, while Bielsa and co will have to quickly lick their wounds ahead of their clash with Brighton and Hove Albion next weekend.

On where it went wrong for Leeds, Bielsa told BBC Sport: ‘We couldn’t unbalance them when we attacked, we had the ball for a long period of time but we couldn’t’ do much with it.

‘We played better than the opponent in the first half and the game was played how we wanted it to be played, even if we didn’t create much danger.

‘And in the second half the game was played how the opponents wanted it to be played and they did create danger to deserve the goals that they scored.

‘The result generates a lot of sadness and disappointment for us.’

Asked whether Crawley’s impressive performance came as a surprise, Bielsa replied: ‘No, it’s not a question of surprise.

‘We know the characteristics of their players and the opponents are just like every other opponent.’

Ezgjan Alioski lifted the lid on the disappointment in the away dressing room as Leeds’ FA Cup run came to an early end.

‘I can’t find my words right now,’ the Leeds midfielder said.

‘We are really disappointed and it wasn’t the result that we wanted.

‘I’m really sad, we took the game really seriously and we wanted to win and go on a run so it is disappointing.

‘Crawley played the game of their lives, and congratulations, and to beat us 3-0, I still can’t believe it.

‘The manager said what he wanted to say. It’s important for every player to know what this means.

‘He is sad, and the players are sad.’

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