By Jonty Banks

24th Dec, 2022 | 6:40pm

Jesse Marsch needs to be genius for Leeds United v Manchester City - Sky Sports pundit

David Prutton believes Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has to be a “real genius” to mastermind a defensive display that can withstand Manchester City in the Premier League on Boxing Day.

The Whites have looked bright in attack this season but have conceded a hefty 26 goals from 14 games, including eight times in the final three games prior to the World Cup break.

In Manchester City, Marsch’s side will face the most dangerous attacking force in the league, and it will likely fall to Liam Cooper and Robin Koch to contain Norwegian superstar Erling Haaland.

Writing for the Yorkshire Evening Post, Sky Sports pundit Prutton said an uphill struggle awaited Leeds, but if they can iron out their silly mistakes, they could still stand a chance of nicking a result.

He wrote: “They can’t make wholesale changes to the back four.

“I think that within the makeup of defenders that are available there is a very good and combative back line but ironing out individual errors is a real genius in a manager. We will see if Jesse has managed to do that.”

Tough ask

Not a single Premier League team has managed to keep City’s attack at bay this season, with the reigning Premier League champions scoring in all 14 of their matches. Pep Guardiola’s side have scored a monumental 40 goals this campaign, and against a flaky Leeds defence, it does look a worrying prospect.

However, if Marsch’s side have shown one essential quality, it is courage in spades. Over a tumultuous past few months, they have a cracking record against top-six sides, picking up wins against both Liverpool and Chelsea and running Arsenal extremely close as well.

If Leeds can get the crowd on side early doors and press City aggressively from the offset, it could be a cracking game to watch.

The Whites’ attack has enough quality to challenge any Premier League defence on their day, so it will be a huge blow not to have Tyler Adams in midfield to sit back and shield the vulnerable back four.

In other Leeds United news, we can exclusively reveal a major decision being made on Liam Cooper after he missed the friendly defeat to Monaco