Jesse Marsch had no idea what he was getting himself into when he took over as manager of Leeds United at the end of February. Marsch’s harsh reality has struck in as Chelsea pushed his team closer to relegation with a 3-0 win at Elland Road on Wednesday.
Chelsea was too strong for Marsch’s wilting side despite having an FA Cup final against Liverpool on Saturday. Less than 72 hours after kick-off in this game, goals from Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, and Romelu Lukaku ended a three-game winless streak. They edged Thomas Tuchel’s team to the brink of Champions League qualification.
However, this was yet another setback for Leeds. They’ve now lost three games in a row, surrendering nine goals. It’s not going to get any easier. Dan James’ first-half red card for a horrific foul on Mateo Kovacic means Leeds’ £25 million record-signing will have suspended for the rest of the season. James will join Luke Ayling on the suspended list, having received a three-match suspension for his red card against Arsenal on Sunday.
“Two tackles have gone over the line and damaged the squad in the last two games,” Marsch said.
“I’m not going to blame any of our players; they’ve done everything they can, but we have to keep within our parameters, so we don’t put ourselves in danger.”
The former New York Red Bulls coach questioned Bielsa’s training techniques
Before this game, the former New York Red Bulls coach questioned Bielsa’s training techniques and grumbled about American coaches being likened to the comedic character Ted Lasso. Also, he admitted to inspiring his players using quotes from historical figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa.
On Wednesday, when Chelsea began to overrun Leeds, one English publication compared Marsch to David Brent. The Ricky Gervais character from The Office and Ted Lasso began to trend on Twitter in the UK.
“None of us have ever had something like this,” Marsch said. “We repeat our mistakes in key games.”
Leeds has shown signs of life under Marsch, including coming back from 2-0 down to beat Wolves 3-2 in March. But it’s been the same narrative under Bielsa in terms of too many bookings and goals conceded.
Only bottom-placed Norwich has conceded more goals than Leeds, who have allowed 78. Meanwhile, this season, Leeds’ 97 yellow cards are a Premier League record. When you include the three red cards, they’ve collected 100.
Leeds can avoid relegation with two games remaining, at home to Brighton and away to Brentford. Burnley is on the same points, and Everton is only two points ahead.
Leeds must demonstrate that they can escape their nightmare without essential players and a coach who is still learning the Premier League.
“I feel we can still battle for every point left,” Marsch stated. “There were a lot of positives until the red card. But for the time being, our full concentration is on resting and preparing for Sunday. We’re aiming for six points, and we’ll do everything to achieve them.”
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