By Ben Brown

22nd Apr, 2022 | 9:10pm

Jesse Marsch expects tough battle for Leeds United against Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace

Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch has shared his respect for his opposite number, Patrick Vieira, ahead of Monday’s clash against Crystal Palace.

The pair were city rivals in America when they managed New York Red Bulls and New York City respectively before both progressing into European management.

And Marsch says he expects another tough clash with the legendary ex-midfielder as the Whites’ look to claw themselves out of a relegation battle.

“When he first made the decision to come to the MLS, we were all excited to have somebody of his stature in the league. When he came to New York City FC, it meant that I had to hate him,” he said in his press conference (22 April).

“But I think over time, we grew to really respect each other.

“I followed him in Nice and I thought he did a really, really good job there. And I was really happy to see him be in the Premier League because I think it’s where he belongs.

“We have new groups now, a clash of styles but an opportunity for me and our team to test ourselves against a very good manager and a very good team.”

Crossing Paths

Once Vieira stepped into management it was feasible to most that such an iconic figure during his playing days in the Premier League would eventually return to these shores with a role in the dugout.

The Frenchman has done a superb job in his debut season with the Eagles, introducing a direct style which makes them an easy watch and has led them to a comfortable position in the table and an FA Cup semi-final.

After losing in that fixture at Wembley to Chelsea however their season is in danger of finishing with a whimper after they followed that with a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle in midweek.

That makes them all the more dangerous for Leeds to contend with as they will be looking for a response on home soil.

Marsch’s men still need a few points themselves to guarantee safety, particularly after Burnley’s victory over Southampton, so this fixture could see sparks fly between the American and Vieira once again.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has dropped early hints on the likely lineup for the trip to Selhurst Park.