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Patrick Bamford: 'Aston Villa fans need to let go of my stupid dive'

Patrick Bamford was given a two-match ban for deceiving the match officials with a dive against Villa in 2019.

Leeds striker Patrick Bamford has told Aston Villa fans to "let go" of his "stupid dive" that came when the sides met two years ago.

Villa will be back at Elland Road on Saturday for the first time since April 2019, an eventful match which came in the middle of a heated promotion battle involving the two sides.

Mateusz Klich caused controversy when he played on after Jonathan Kodjia had gone down on the halfway line, scoring to put Leeds in front.

That sparked a fracas between the two teams during which Anwar El Ghazi was sent off following a clash with Bamford, though the striker was later given a two-match ban for deceiving the match officials with a dive.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa responded by allowing Villa to score an unchallenged equaliser – earning a FIFA Fair Play Award – as the match finished 1-1, a result which ended United's hopes of automatic promotion.

Both teams ended up in the play-offs with Villa earning promotion, but that does not mean their fans have forgotten the day.

"It seems like over the last couple of years we have become rivals with Villa, I don't know why," Bamford said on the Official Leeds United Podcast.

"Maybe it's that whole thing I did with that stupid dive and we had to give them a goal and that kicked it off.

"That was one game though, surely you let go of that? I still get sent gifs and memes of me falling on the floor from that game and I'm like, 'Come on, let it go, I'm so sorry'."

Though Leeds had to wait an extra season to earn promotion, they are back on level terms with Villa, and go into Saturday's game just one point behind Dean Smith's side following a 3-0 midweek win over Southampton.

Just as they did in a 3-0 victory over Villa in October, Leeds scored all their goals against the Saints in the second half, with Bamford crediting substitute Helder Costa – creator of Stuart Dallas' effort to make it 2-0 – for helping to make the difference.

"I think we upped the tempo," he said. "I actually think that looking back at it, Helder Costa made a massive difference. That last two games he's been brilliant.

"He kind of gave us that little bit of extra pace, so we had pace on both sides of the wings.

"I think that he didn't get spoken much about because obviously Raphinha got all the plaudits from the pundits and stuff, but I think Costa made a massive difference to us in the second half."

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