By Jonty Banks

14th Jan, 2023 | 1:40pm

Paul Merson drops Leeds United sack verdict on Jesse Marsch live on Sky Sports

Paul Merson believes Leeds United must keep faith in Jesse Marsch and has backed the American manager to steer the club clear of relegation, live on Sky Sports.

The Whites fell to their ninth loss in 18 Premier League games this season at Villa Park on Friday night (13 January) and intensified the speculation surrounding Marsch’s position in the Elland Road dugout.

Despite failing to pick up any points in the 2-1 loss, the American manager’s side had a host of gilt-edged chances that they failed to convert – a storyline that has arisen far too often this term.

Speaking live on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday, pundit Merson laid bare his opinion on Marsch, stating he would be “shocked” if they were relegated under his tenure.

He said: “The players are running through brick walls. They just constantly kept on going and going yesterday [against Aston Villa].

“For me, I would stick with Jesse Marsch, I hope they do. If someone else comes in with different ideas, they will start sitting back and playing a different way.

“They are 100-mile-an-hour merchants if you know what I mean. They are one of those teams with that kind of energy.

“For me stay with Jesse Marsch. I do not see Leeds going down, I would be shocked if Leeds went down.”

Trust

Despite the result against Aston Villa coming as a bitter blow to Leeds’ chances to rise the Premier League table, the performance was something they could be very proud of.

How the Whites failed to hit the back of the net in the first half was quite remarkable to see, with both Rodrigo and Jack Harrison missing clear-cut chances that would be finished off nine times out of ten.

Yes, Aston Villa keeper Emi Martinez was on hand to deny the latter with a sublime save, but their lack of potency has highlighted the need to complete Georginio Rutter’s transfer in the coming days.

The next week will define Marsch’s era at Elland Road. An FA Cup replay against Cardiff City is followed by an equally-critical match against Brentford in the league. If he manages to mastermind a pair of wins, the pressure will be relieved. Anything less than that, and the American could well be sent packing.

In other Leeds United news, Jesse Marsch approached the travelling fans at full time against Aston Villa and got a notable reaction.