This season has been one of significant ups and downs for Leeds United, mainly downs, as the Whites beat relegation on the last day of the Premier League. Jesse Marsch’s team needed goals from Raphinha and Jack Harrison to record a 2-1 win at Brentford to beat the drop and relegate Burnley to the Championship.
A lengthy injury list hamstrung their season
To be fair to former head coach Marcelo Bielsa and later Marsch, the Whites had a horrendous injury list last season. Key players such as Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford missed vast chunks of the campaign. If they had been fit, then the Yorkshire outfit may not have even been in the survival struggle, such is their importance to the team.
The pair were part of the spine of the team. If any team loses players who are part of the team’s spine, they tend to suffer. Both played critical roles in a relatively successful return to the top-flight last season. For Leeds’s sake, hopefully, they will be back fit and fighting for pre-season and new campaign.
Jesse Marsch has a chance to put his stamp on things
During his time at Red Bull Salzburg, Jesse Marsch displayed signs of a highly talented young coach. He seemed to be tactically astute and bought into the Austrian culture. The former USA international comes across as an intelligent coach willing to learn. His accent has rather harshly drawn comparisons with fictional Richmond FC head coach Ted Lasso, which is ridiculous.
It is unfair to make the comparison just because they share a nationality. The 48-year-old has the potential to become an excellent football coach in years to come. However, a failed stint in Germany at RB Leipzig suggests that he still has things to learn.
This summer will be Marsch’s chance to instil his football philosophy into the players. The club should also help him out by bringing in players that will suit his style of play, as he has not even had a transfer window with the Yorkshire club since he arrived in February.
Leeds needs to push on next season
Although no club should take their place for granted in the Premier League, a club the size of Leeds should be playing top-flight football. The Whites have a tremendous fanbase and a massive history in the English game.
Under Marcelo Bielsa, they finished midtable last season. This season showed that the Whites lacked strength in depth and were just a few injuries away from catastrophe.
The last day’s great escape should just be the start for the team from Yorkshire. It should act as a wake-up call to those within the walls of power at the club that they cannot rest on their laurels and back their recruitment team to add quality to their squad.
This time next year, everybody associated with Leeds will be hoping that their team will be firmly established further up the table without needing any last day heroics.
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Will Jesse Marsch be successful as Leeds head coach?