Leeds United legend Johnny Giles questions Jesse Marsch leadership amid downward spiral
Legendary Leeds United midfielder Johnny Giles has questioned the leadership ability of Jesse Marsch as the club’s results have taken a major dip.
Three straight losses have seen the Whites lose all their advantage in the relegation battle, and catastrophic red cards in the defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea have badly hampered their ability to fight back from early deficits.
Former Ireland international Giles, who thinks failure from Burnley is the club’s last hope now, has suggested that the American coach’s gregarious management style is not working.
Giles told Off The Ball: “I think the best thing in any situation is to keep quiet and do your talking when you’ve done your stuff in a big way.”
On Marsch’s use of figures ranging from Mahatma Ghandi to Michael Jordan as inspiration for the squad he said:”My take on it is, the manager is the inspirational force, putting things right, getting things done properly in all the various ways.
“I don’t think it was the wisest thing at this particular stage, or any stage, to make the comments he made [about what] he was going to use for inspirational purposes before the match.
“I think the leadership comes from the manager, his knowledge of the game, what he wants from the players, and his actual approach.
“That was before the match the other day and it didn’t go down very well I don’t think.”
On survival chances he pinned his hope on Burnley slip-ups and praised the Whites fans, saying: “The support from the crowd is fantastic, even the other night against Chelsea when they were having a bad time, they didn’t turn on the team, they didn’t turn against them.
“They were singing and trying to support them right to the end, so as far as the Leeds support are concerned, I hope they stay up.”
There was inevitably going to be some friction when Marsch took over from the much-loved Marcelo Bielsa, and being American is going to give him an extra hurdle to negotiate in England, probably unfairly.
The transition appeared remarkably serene in the circumstances as results picked up and the team climbed away from relegation danger.
His suggestion that injuries resulted from overtraining under his predecessor caused some consternation but it is now that the results have taken another down-turn and the future is looking bleak that criticism is starting to mount.
There’s nothing inherently inadequate about citing inspiration from elsewhere in a bid to motivate players, and it is more common in US sport.
And while football hasn’t always had the profile on the other side of the Atlantic, Americans can hardly be accused of lacking experience in sporting success.
Marsch’s relentless positivity is somewhat grating at times in the face of increasing peril, but he could reasonably argue that it brought a strong run of five games unbeaten and looked to have done the job of beating the drop.
Sudden resurrections from both relegation rivals seemed unlikely and have been the real difference lately, considering games against three of the “Big Six” were never ripe for many points.
But he certainly does have to crack down on the new habit of unnecessary wild challenges putting the team at a disadvantage.