Jesse Marsch is Saving the Day for Leeds
We are over a month into the Jesse Marsch era at Leeds United, and the American has saved the Yorkshire team from Premier League relegation.
Marsch’s time at Leeds got off to a rough start in which they were shut out by both Leicester and Aston Villa, 1-0 and 3-0 respectively. However, Leeds have gone unbeaten in their last four matches and are now sitting nine points clear of Burnley in the last relegation spot. A lot of this success has come from the hiring of Marsch on the last day of February.
There has been an incredible turnaround since Marsch was hired to replace club legend Marcelo Bielsa. As much as Bielsa had helped Leeds by returning them to the Premier League after 16 years in the EFL Championship and League One, his last run of matches was brutal. Leeds were winless in their last six matches under Bielsa and were blown out in four straight losing 3-0 at Everton, 4-2 home to Manchester United, 6-0 at Liverpool, and 4-0 home to Tottenham.
Following that brutal stretch, it looked like Leeds was heading straight for relegation. Nothing was going right for the team, they couldn’t score if their life depended on it and the defensive unit was getting sliced up every single weekend. Something needed to change and it was not going to be Bielsa’s style of play despite the players asking him to change his style.
Bringing in Marsch was just that, and despite the comparison to Ted Lasso he has turned it around and brought a new life to players that struggled to adapt to the Bielsa style of play. Even in the first loss to Leicester, Leeds looked like a completely different team that had a fire lit below them and really deserved more than a loss.
Rodrigo Moreno, the club’s most expensive transfer, had struggled greatly during Bielsa’s time in charge. He was either left on the bench while Patrick Bamford was playing up top or missed time due to injury, but that changed since Marsch came in. Moreno has scored three times in the last four matches each a win for Leeds and looks to finally be living up to his $35 million contract. The thing about Moreno’s play that has stood out to me the most is that the passion he is playing with makes it look like he is enjoying his time at Leeds.
It has not only been Moreno who has been rejuvenated and impressed under Marsch. Former MLS #1 draft pick Jack Harrison has scored three straight for Leeds for the first time in his four years at Leeds. Under Bielsa this season, Harrison had scored in only two of 23 matches.
A fire had been lit under Leeds by Marsch and that has resulted in some incredible matches that have brought life back to Elland Road. In the first two wins under Marsch against Norwich and Wolverhampton, Leeds needed a stoppage-time goal to steal three points. The late goals from Joe Gelhardt and Luke Ayling were a reminder of what the first three years under Bielsa were like because the team showed no quit and fought to the end. This had not been the case this season as the players looked almost defeated whenever the match was close.
Marsch has turned around so much for the club and has Leeds looking safe with six matches remaining. Once the players adapted to the new coach’s style it looked like a brand new team ready to give everything they have to stay in the Premier League for a third straight season.
Leeds has 14 days off until they play Crystal Palace on April 25, and in that time I am sure Marsch will continue improving his players every day which will be huge in the exciting relegation battle.
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