Jesse Marsch appointed Leeds United manager after Marcelo Bielsa departure | Football News

Jesse Marsch has been appointed as the new manager of Leeds United after the departure of Marcelo Bielsa on Sunday.

The Argentine was dismissed following a 4-0 defeat to Tottenham, leaving Leeds 16th in the Premier League table and two points from the relegation places.

Marsch – who has previously coached at New York Red Bulls and RB Salzburg – will be tasked with turning around the club’s recent form, having not won in six league outings and taking just one point.

The 48-year-old American started the season as coach at RB Leipzig, replacing Bayern-bound Julian Nagelsmann.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Tottenham Hotspur’s win against Leeds United in the Premier League

However, Marsch and the club mutually parted ways at the start of December, with a 6-3 thrashing by Manchester City in their opening Champions League game contributing to his departure.

Marsch’s first game in charge will be a trip to Leicester on Saturday in the Premier League; kick-off 12.30pm.

Jesse Marsch’s first six Leeds fixtures

Date Opponent Competition
Saturday March 5 Leicester (a) Premier League
Thursday March 10 Aston Villa (h) Premier League
Sunday March 13 Norwich (h) Premier League
Friday March 18 Wolves (a) Premier League
Saturday April 2 Southampton (h) Premier League
Saturday April 9 Watford (a) Premier League

More to follow….

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What went wrong for Bielsa?

Sky Sports Adam Smith:

Leeds were just three points shy from the top half of the Premier League table following a 2-2 draw with Brentford back on December 5. Patrick Bamford came on as a substitute in that game to score a dramatic 95th-minute leveller – his only cameo this season since suffering his first of two major injuries in mid-September.

To compound matters, the remaining spine of the team has been sidelined since, too, in Kalvin Phillips and club captain Liam Cooper. Those injuries preceded a torrid run of fixtures against Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal in the space of seven days – all ended in defeat.

Despite a brief run of form running into the new year, which produced a draw with Aston Villa and wins over Burnley and West Ham, five defeats from six games since prompted the board to end Bielsa’s four-year reign.

The Argentine refused to blame his missing trio after the humiliating 6-0 defeat at Liverpool, but the stats provide ample evidence their absence has been sorely missed.

Leeds now sit merely two points clear of the drop zone, while the two teams below them – Everton and Burnley – have two games in hand.

So what exactly went wrong for Bielsa and were the injuries an instrumental factor?

This graphic clearly reveals how Leeds have missed Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper

Phillips and Cooper have now missed more than half of the season so far, while Leeds have shipped almost three times as many goals without the pair in the side, the win rate has halved, as has their points-per-game averages. Meanwhile, the absence of a direct replacement for Bamford was underlined by a host of spurned chances against Tottenham.

Leeds had 19 shots, amassing 1.53 expected goals, and missed two big chances against Spurs

As the graphic below shows, Leeds became far less watertight following the key injuries. While the initial spike in goals conceded could be understandable, based on opposition, the latest spike has few excuses and reveals Leeds are now shipping an average of four goals per game, based on a rolling five-game average.

In addition, Leeds’ renown high press appears to have weakened significantly since Phillips was sidelined, with opponents finding it far easier to play through them when building from the back and in central midfield.

Leeds have struggled to assert an effective high press and have been easier to play through in midfield since early December

The high press had been one facet of the fear factor for opponents facing Leeds, which included the intensity and gung-ho style – fuelled by league-topping numbers for sprints and distance covered.

While the sprinting has remained, the overall running distances have dipped: Leeds outran opponents in 13 out of 15 games before Phillips and Cooper suffered injuries – but have only achieved that feat in four out of 11 games since.

In addition, average positions suggest Leeds’ midfielders have dropped deeper to cover an area Phillips patrolled single-handedly, while the lone forward has advanced even farther upfield – increasing space for opponents in the centre of the park.

Kalvin Phillips (marked in green) patrolled the area in front of defence

Bielsa could have easily used his missing trio as a mitigating factor during this torrid run of results and few would have contested. However, his mantra of maintaining a gung-ho approach with depleted resources against superior teams was widely contested and ultimately, costly.

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