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Graeme Souness slams Daniel James over 'reckless' tackle after Leeds United man sent off

By Matthew Holt

Leeds United's misery was further compounded at Elland Road during the first 45 minutes of action against Chelsea, as Daniel James was shown a straight red card for a foul on Mateo Kovacic. Referee Anthony Taylor had no choice but to give the Wales international his marching orders, as the 24-year-old flew in late with just 24 minutes played.

Mason Mount had given Thomas Tuchel's side an early lead, with United bidding to remain in England's top flight this season.

With Chelsea hoping to secure a top-four finish this term following the club's ongoing off-field issues, Kovacic attempted to play on, but was forced off on the half-hour mark, putting his involvement in Saturday's FA Cup final in doubt.

READ MORE: Follow Leeds United vs Chelsea as it happens

In the Sky Sports studio, Graeme Souness said the referee got the decision correct. "It's reckless, yes he gets the ball but his stoods catch the rest of Kovacic," said the former Liverpool midfielder.

"I mean we can see the bench from Leeds United complain about it, yes he gets the ball, but he also gets the player. That's a dangerous tackle and that's a red card."

With United boss Jesse Marsch also attempting to plead innocence following the 24-year-old's dismissal, Souness admitted even he can have no complaints regarding the nature of the tackle.

"In the heat of the battle you maybe see things differently when your on the touchline like that but I think he will reflect on that when he sees it later and will say okay that's a sending off.

"Yes he's got the ball, but his momentum, and theres a lot of it, follows through on Kovacic and thats a sending off. He has endangered an opponent and it's a red card."

James' sending off followed a Luke Ayling red card during the first half of Sunday's defeat to Arsenal, with James joining Ayling on the suspension list for the rest of the season.

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