By Sean Fisher

26th Oct, 2022 | 9:10pm

Phil Hay: Leeds United are paying price for being 'loyal to their promotion squad'

Leeds United again find themselves in a relegation dogfight this season – Phil Hay believes the club are paying the price for being too loyal.

After surviving by the skin of their teeth last season, Leeds United made a handful of signings in the summer to try and bolster Jesse Marsch’s squad.

But still, the American finds himself using plenty of players at Elland Road that played a part in the club’s promotion to the Premier League in 2020.

Hay believes Leeds are now paying the price for being too hesitant to upgrade the squad.

“Leeds and Bielsa were loyal to their promotion squad but standing by it risked pushing it too far, which Leeds probably have,” wrote Hay in his latest article for The Athletic.

“The failure to refresh, or refresh enough, meant that in the summer just gone, the transfer window called for a substantial refit, an overhaul that painted over the old design.

“The club were not so much transitioning to Marsch as veering towards him.”

A brutal industry

Running a football club is not for the faint-hearted, and Leeds have often been exposed for being too emotional in their decision-making.

After a superb return to the Premier League in the 2020/21 season – where Leeds finished ninth – the club were static and stale when they should have been proactive.

It was too simplistic to rely on the genius qualities of Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine manager needed help at Elland road, and whether it was down to his stubbornness or the board’s naivety, the squad didn’t receive enough attention.

Adrenaline and excitement at returning to the Premier League fueled Leeds’ first season back, but as that faded the squad was exposed for what it was – a Championship-winning side.

Leeds needed quality players to come in and improve the squad, and by the time Marsch came in Leeds’ two best stars – Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips – both abandoned him.

It’s a lesson to be learned for both Victor Orta and Andrea Radrizzani, and the first chance they get at rectifying it is in January.

In other Leeds United news, Marcelo Bielsa’s return to Leeds United is on the cards, says Jeff Stelling