However nice the resort that Jesse Marsch may be holidaying in over the summer, he will be unable to completely relax as the new season draws nearer. In short, Marsch has yet to prove himself to the vast majority of Leeds United fans despite keeping the Whites up during a dramatic end to the season on the final day.
Ominously, anyone betting on football and in particular relegation from the Premier League will see Leeds at 13/5 to go down. Essentially, this will mean that patience will be in short supply at Elland Road with the crowd still on edge after a traumatic 2021/2022 campaign.
Whilst the underwhelming season just gone by wasn’t necessarily Marsch’s fault given that most of the damage took place under Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure, the American was still unable to win over the crowd owing to the style in which Leeds played during the closing stages. Admittedly, the football was disconnected, frantic, and painfully narrow which was uncomfortably jarring for a fanbase that had become used to Bielsa’s free-flowing philosophy that was incredibly easy on the eye.
Revealingly, Marsch became aware of the discontent and the narrative that was developing around his style of play which resulted in the 48-year-old asking fans to wait until he had had a full pre-season with his charges before judging him. It was, it has to be said, entirely fair and appropriate to ask for this amount of leeway, especially when you consider that Leeds looked to be going down before Marsch was awarded the job. Put another way, the squad was short of confidence with all belief having left the dressing room following a run where Leeds conceded 20 goals over 17 days between the 9th and 26th of February. By that stage, the board had seen enough and relieved Bielsa of his duties. So with this in mind and realistically speaking, Marsch didn’t have the luxury of coming in and asking a reeling squad to play champagne football and had to ensure instead that all sleeves were rolled up, and hands went to the pump in order to keep the Elland Road outfit in the top flight.
In this sense, perhaps it’s fitting to suggest that more credit should be awarded to the American coach for managing to keep Leeds in the Premier League.
“OHHH JACK HARRISON!” ⚽⚡
LEEDS UNITED ARE STAYING UP! AND JUST LOOK WHAT IT MEANS!! ⚪ pic.twitter.com/THvTkJbrI7
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 22, 2022
Although that was then and this is now, with Marsch set to be put through the acid test when his team runs out on the first day of the season against Wolves at home. Indeed, when a rousing rendition of Marching on Together dies down and the season kicks off, Marsch won’t be able to fall back on asking for more time when you consider that the crowd will expect to see results following the conclusion of a long pre-season.
Leeds are not messing about ✍️
Jesse Marsch has his third signing of the transfer window after Marc Roca put pen to paper on a four-year deal.
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) June 18, 2022
The only way to begin to shift public opinion about his know-how in the dugout is to ensure that his players, to a certain degree, entertain, but more importantly, get results in the opening weeks of the season. In essence, accumulating points and moving up the table will make up for all manner of sins in terms of style. This is a fanbase, after all, that desperately wants to put the demons of the 2021/2022 season in the past and not spend the majority of the campaign at the wrong end of the table. Should Marsch manage to find early momentum and pull away from the foot of the table then he will surely win over this Elland Road crowd.