How Long Does Marsch Have Left at Leeds?

Leeds United

Tom Lever

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Marsch’s Journey to Elland Road

Jesse Marsch has worked his way up the managerial ranks in his 12-year career, which began as an assistant manager for the USA men’s national team. The 49-year-old then joined Canadian outfit Montreal Impact as head coach in 2011, before leaving after one season. In 2015, Marsch set off on his Red Bull adventure with the first stop being New York Red Bulls.

The American had a successful first season in charge, even winning the MLS coach of the year award. He left in 2018 as the coach with the most victories in the club’s history, joining RB Leipzig as an assistant manager. After one season in Germany, he was appointed as manager of RB Salzburg in Austria where his side dominated domestically.

After Impressing with his Salzburg side, a return to the Bundesliga was just around the corner for Jesse and he replaced Julian Nagelsmann as Leipzig’s new head coach in 2021. However, after numerous uninspired average performances, Marsch and the club mutually agreed to part ways.

In February 2022, Jesse Marsch replaced Marcelo Bielsa as head coach of Leeds United. He just about lead his side to Premier League survival that season, with Leeds becoming the first side since 2011 to avoid relegation whilst being in the bottom three going into the final matchday. As of today, Jesse Marsch remains in charge at Elland Road, yet two wins in his last 17 games means he is under heavy scrutiny.

This Season

Leeds United currently sit in 14th place, with a game in hand and two points ahead of 18th place West Ham United. The Yorkshire club are not in a disastrous position currently, but considering they picked up nearly half their point tally in the first five Premier League fixtures, I can understand why there is some concern and criticism.

Spanish forward Rodrigo has been unbelievable for Leeds this season, leading from the front with his goals and experience. The 31-year-old has been the main source of goals, scoring ten which is the fifth-highest in the Premier League. This statistic proves that Rodrigo will be such an important player during the potential survival battle, especially given Patrick Bamford’s continuous injury struggles.

The Whites have been inconsistent this season which has led to weeks of disappointment, especially during their run of four straight defeats. However, they have displayed some promising performances in the league since their shock 2-1 Victory against Liverpool at Anfield and were unbeaten in their last two Premier League fixtures prior to Friday night's unfortunate loss at Aston Villa.

Playstyle & Signings

Ever since their return to the Premier League, Leeds have become known for their high-intensity, tennis-like approach to games.

Jesse Marsch has adopted a slightly more reserved playstyle that is reminiscent of that Bielsa side. Leeds often opts for a high-pressing strategy which is why we often see high-scoring games, because if the opposition is able to play through the press then Leeds become vulnerable defensively. A high-risk, high-reward strategy that is loved by the majority of the fanbase. For this tactical approach to work, Jesse needs players with high energy and incredible work rate which fortunately for him, Leeds now have in abundance thanks to the summer transfer window.

In the summer, Leeds lost their two best players in Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha for approximately £90 million between them. This money was used to fund the signings of multiple new players, bringing in nine during the window who pretty much all play an important role in the first team and starting XI. Wilfried Gnonto, Luis Sinisterra, Tyler Adams, Marc Roca, Brenden Aaronson, and Rasmus Kristensen have come all been first-team starters this season and improved the Leeds side.

So many summer acquisitions often makes the process of creating squad dynamics difficult and it makes the job of creating a balanced starting XI more complex. Maybe the inconsistency in the first half of the season was down to this? Marsch has also had to rely upon youth this season, however, they have all stepped up to the task, especially Gnonto. They also have a completely new midfield now with Adams, Roca and Aaronson who are all quality players in the right system, which I think Jesse is still yet to discover. There is no doubt that the squad has quality and should be performing to a higher standard but with a few additions in the January transfer window, Leeds could begin to climb up the table.

The club has actually already begun to address the issues in the squad this window, which clearly shows ambition and that they are willing to back Jesse Marsch. Leeds have completed the signing of 24-year-old centre-back Maximilian Wober from RB Salzburg and are close to finalising a deal for 20-year-old 1899 Hoffenheim forward Georginio Rutter, both signings will bolster the squad and fit perfectly into the Leeds-style of play.

The Future of Jesse Marsch and Leeds United

Leeds are very much in contention for relegation and they will need to improve in the second half of the season if they are to play Premier League football after the summer. With all the new signings and the quality that they have in attack, Leeds should not be in a relegation scrap come the end of the season.

In terms of the future of Marsch, it seems that the owners fully back him and believe he is the correct individual to help the club progress and achieve success, which will only aid his confidence. After interviewing multiple Leeds fans last week, It was apparent that the American's passion and honesty makes him a much more likeable character, even if his side's performances are not inspiring. The fans do understand that Marsch is undertaking a rebuilding phase currently which is why the majority back him to succeed, especially as he is so open and transparent with them.

There is a decent chance that Marsch will be safe and so will Leeds at the end of the season. With the owners and fans backing it is clear that Jesse is in a strong position, which Is something that managers around him in the table can’t relate to (excluding Lopetegui at Wolves). Leeds United face struggling Nottingham Forest, Everton and Southampton in game weeks 22, 24 and 25, which could be the perfect opportunity to distance themselves from the relegation zone. With favourable fixtures ahead, Marsch will be confident that he can turn things around and be optimistic about his future as Leeds United's head coach.

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