Freund protests innocence over kiss controversy

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The Independent Football

The Leicester City midfielder Steffen Freund is adamant that he was not to blame for an incident during the defeat at Leeds which resulted in two home supporters being ejected from Elland Road.

The Leicester City midfielder Steffen Freund is adamant that he was not to blame for an incident during the defeat at Leeds which resulted in two home supporters being ejected from Elland Road.

Angry scenes behind the Leicester dugout followed Muzzy Izzet's stunning 79th-minute strike which brought City level at 2-2 only 90 seconds after Paul Dickov had scored the visitors' first goal of the night.

Security staff ran down the touchline to intervene and, after a heated exchange, two Leeds supporters were eventually asked to leave their seats and were escorted away. However, there were suggestions that Freund - who had been substituted a minute before the comeback began - provoked the incident by making a gesture to the Leeds fans following Izzet's goal.

Freund maintains he did nothing more than blow a kiss, and although that is also incitement, he feels it is the fans who over-reacted.

"Ask the supporters what happened," said Freund when asked about his version of events. "They were shouting, but I don't care about that because when we scored a goal I was happy and maybe they weren't happy. But I made no gesture. I just blew a kiss at them. They should have looked at what I was doing, but I did nothing wrong.

"If they boo me, I just blow a kiss in return, so where's the problem? It was nothing. If you blow a kiss at them and they do something in return then they are wrong. I'm not guilty of anything and that's it."

City appeared more likely to grab the winner after equalising, with Paul Robinson producing a fine save to deny Peter Canero, but their unbeaten run of six games came to an end when Alan Smith scored in the 86th minute.

It was the kind of defeat which could have a demoralising effect on Micky Adams' side and, while Freund concedes Smith's goal was a bitter pill to swallow, he says his team will get back on track with a win at home to Fulham on Saturday.

"It's hard to lose here because we had a good chance to bring a point home, but now Leeds are level with us," said Freund. "But nothing changes. There are still seven games to go and it is still in our hands. If we win the home games we will be in the Premiership next year.

"This is not a bad defeat for us. We didn't lose 3-0 or 4-0. Ask Blackburn and Wolves who are losing 3-0, 4-0, 5-0. It is always a close game when other teams play against Leicester. So I think on Saturday we will turn things around and we will win 1-0 or 2-1, but that's the Premier League. It is really close."

Which is why Freund feels Leicester need just nine more points to guarantee their place in the top flight, with one of the lowest totals of recent years likely to be set.

"If you look at last season West Ham were relegated with more than 40 points, but this season I think it is going to need less to stay up because there are so many teams involved," he said. "It is so tight at the bottom that maybe 36 or 37 points could be enough."

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