Cesc Fabregas’s late penalty prevented Leeds United from claiming another Premier League scalp in the FA Cup on Saturday.
12 months on from knocking Manchester United out of the competition, United made their first ever visit to the Emirates to take on an Arsenal side who had not been beaten at home in the FA Cup since Leeds had knocked them out at Highbury in 1997. Robert Snodgrass had put the visitors in front on 54 minutes from the penalty spot, but Leeds were denied victory when Ben Parker tugged Theo Walcott’s shirt in the closing moments.
Despite not finishing the job, Simon Grayson refused to be disappointed telling talk SPORT: “I don’t know how you can be disappointed about getting a result like we did yesterday at the Emirates. The whole team can be very proud of what they achieved yesterday. Obviously when you get a minute away from full-time, you do think that you’re going to be getting a major shock and a result for the football club but I thought we did very well yesterday.”
No Gradel sale.
Simon Grayson has accused Max Gradel’s agent of creating transfer speculation during the transfer window.
The Ivorian winger signed a two and a half year contract when signing for the club on a permanent basis following a loan period from Leicester City last January. Gradel has been linked with a £6M move to Newcastle during the window, but Grayson has dismissed any chance of a move: “Max has just got a new agent who’s obviously touting him around a little bit and that always comes with the transfer window” Grayson told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
He also reiterated that any changes would be made to improve the squad: “We’ll be linked with players coming in and there’ll be talk of players going out but I want to take us forward with this current group. For any of them to leave Leeds United would take big money or a serious attraction elsewhere because there aren’t many bigger clubs than us.”
Pardew won’t sell Smith.
Alan Pardew has said that he is keen to keep Alan Smith at Newcastle United, despite the reported interest of Leeds United.
The Championship club have been linked to their former player but the Magpies boss told The Northern Echo why he was keen to keep Smith: “He’s an important person in this group, he’s a good character around the dressing room.” Smith is one of the top earners at the North East club, and Chairman Mike Ashley is known to be keen to trim the wage bill, but Pardew expects him to remain at the club: “I like Alan. He’s got 18 months to run here and I’m sure he will want to see those 18 months out.”