Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch invites 'ridicule' with survival on the line - Phil Hay
Jesse Marsch is risking “ridicule” by being so open about his views and his hopes for the future when Leeds United’s safety is on the line, says Phil Hay.
The Whites boss discussed his love of quotes to motivate the players in his press conference this week, ranging from sports names like former NBA coach Phil Jackson to historical figures such as Mahatma Ghandi and Mother Theresa.
The club are currently sitting in the relegation zone ahead of the Wednesday evening game against Chelsea (11 May), and having come into the club at such a difficult time, and replacing the totemic Marcelo Bielsa, Hay feels that the American is playing a risky game.
He wrote in The Athletic: “There are good times to sell yourself as a coach and the tail-end of a season where nothing has gone well and everything is on the line is not one of them.
“Bielsa was a philosophical talker, known for taking his press conferences away from football into global issues, foreign politics and life.
“But Bielsa’s musings were the opposite of a vicious circle. The more his influence was felt and the better his team became, the more people wanted to hear him talk and understand where his brain took him, and the more he could veer off the beaten track and hold people’s attention, without ridicule. Naturally, there were people who took the [expletive] but none of his own.
“Marsch cannot count on that tolerance because in spite of the positive bounce in results over the course of a month and a half, Leeds are in peril and the city is worried.
“Marsch is new to his surroundings but the surroundings are tense and unforgiving.”
Make or break
It isn’t often that a journalist suggests it would be a good idea for one of the main people they cover to say less, but that is a signal of the team’s current predicament.
Much of what Marsch says really has nothing too controversial to it, but with stress levels high around the city people might not want to hear some of it right now.
The amount of scope he has to espouse his views on the future or his wider philosophy entirely corresponds to the results he gets on the pitch, and the look of the table afterwards.
The rapid decline in the Premier League relegation picture in the past couple of weeks has put the spotlight back on the former Red Bull Salzburg boss.
His previous five-game unbeaten run, which picked up 11 crucial points, had provided him some much-needed capital.
But the heavy defeat to Manchester City, and his overtly positive reaction to it, followed by a self-destruction at Arsenal has put him back on a short leash.
But it is clearly part of his character to be upbeat and if that’s what he feels will get the club to survive he will continue with it.
If it works then supporters will likely come to appreciate his ways, but if it doesn’t he may be in for an uncomfortable summer.