By George Overhill

19th Feb, 2023 | 11:10am

BT Sport pundit Lucy Ward slams Leeds United board over manager moves after Everton defeat

Lucy Ward has blasted the mishandling of the managerial change at Leeds United after the club were beaten at Everton with Michael Skubala in charge.

The caretaker boss oversaw a limp performance that was a long way below his first two games against Manchester United, as the Whites fell to a damaging 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park against the fellow relegation strugglers.

But given he was never meant to be in charge this long BT Sport pundit Ward has spoken for many Leeds United fans in expressing her bafflement at how the board have made such a mess of the situation, by being unprepared for life after Jesse Marsch.

Reacting to the loss on her personal Twitter account on Saturday (18 February) Ward wrote: “Cannot understand how Leeds didn’t get a new manager in immediately they sacked Marsch. Makes absolutely no sense”.

Spot on

There is really no excuse for the Elland Road hierarchy on this one, because Marsch was already under pressure prior to the World Cup break months ago.

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It may be that the unexpected win at Anfield on 29 October, followed by the win over Bournemouth, saved the American’s job.

But having come that close to removing him at that point, immediately before a six-week break from club action for the tournament in Qatar, the fact that a contingency plan wasn’t worked out then is a huge oversight.

The World Cup break was the ideal opportunity to lay the groundwork for a successor, but that chance was passed up, and then Marsch was backed heavily in the January window suggesting the board were supporting him no matter what.

Instead, the pendulum quickly swung the opposite direction again and he was fired following the first game after deadline day.

Most fans and pundits assumed there must have been a plan ready to go for the move to have been made at that point, but after swinging and missing on Carlos Corberan, they were similarly frustrated by the likes of Andoni Iraola, Marcelo Gallardo and Arne Slot.

Skubala has been pressed into emergency service and showed some positive early signs, but he should never have been required and the worrying regression against Everton has seen that gamble not pay off.

What the solution is at this point is hard to say, but having got the club into this position the decision-makers are going to need to find an answer to a problem of their own making fast.

In other Leeds United news, click here to see breaking, around-the-clock updates on Leeds’ search for a new manager in our interactive live blog.

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