Jesse Marsch must rectify mistakes for Leeds survival

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch will have to avoid slight mistakes that have proved costly to the club previously if he seeks to save the Whites from Premier League relegation this season.

Looking at the red card and three-match suspension given to Luke Ayling in last week’s defeat to Arsenal, Marsch had a huge decision to take in another big fixture against Chelsea on Wednesday night. 

He went on to name Jamie Shackleton, Robin Koch, Raphinha, and Daniel James as the men fit for a decent show against the Blues. 

Both Raphinha and James were assigned to stand in their different roles temporarily in the games against Manchester City and Arsenal. 

However, it emerged that Shackleton was the best option, going by the fact that he had been used in the particular position regularly.

Looking at the Leeds United team sheet released at 6.30pm on Wednesday, it clearly appeared as if Marsch had opted for one of his centre backs in the role.

On the pitch, it came to be understood that the coach had decided to start with three centre backs. Pascal Struijk was to play as a left wing-back while Raphinha was to be the right wing-back.

This was a miscalculation given the fact that the Brazilian has been good in the forward line for Leeds this season. 

Consequently, the team lost 3-0 to Chelsea, meaning they must win their remaining two fixtures against Brighton at home and Brentford away to revive their survival hopes. 

Defending his decision on the team selection criteria and tactical approach, Marsch stated that he had to deploy Leeds’ best striker close to the opponent’s goal.

“We’ve tried to find ways to play with him a little bit wider, we’ve tried to find ways where he is in transition moments a little bit more, we’ve tried to find ways to get him around the goal more,” he explained.

“Against these opponents, the best opponents, it’s not like we’re going to be in the final third for 50% of the game where we can really get him on the ball.” That means getting him in transition and finding him opportunities to get him around the goal.”

He will now be forced to reconsider his team selection and system of play in order to save his side from the chop.