Phil Hay: Leeds United players held dressing room inquiry post-Aston Villa
Phil Hay has shared how the Leeds United players took it upon themselves to spark a reaction to the Aston Villa defeat, and Jesse Marsch left them to it.
The 3-0 loss in the American’s first home game had left a terrible mood inside Elland Road, which was in stark contrast to the one found three days later when they secured a dramatic late win against Norwich.
It appears the new manager took a step back following the final whistle, as the squad shared some home truths about their chances of relegation, before the boss took a more hands on approach at Thorp Arch the following day.
Speaking about the response to the defeat on The Phil Hay Show podcast host Dan Moylan said: “They thrashed it all out in the dressing room afterwards.”
The Athletic reporter Phil Hay responded: “They did, which needed to be done, and [Marsch] kind of left them to it on Thursday [10 March] night. He just felt the players needed to say what had to be said.
“There are a lot of people in that dressing room who have devoted a hell of a lot to the [Marcelo] Bielsa era. He’s done great things for them… but they’ve equally done really good things for him.
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“I don’t think there’s any lack of commitment from the core of the squad, and I think it’s quite telling that they themselves were saying: ‘If we carry on like this there’s only one way it’s going, this is not going to turn itself around’.
“Then Marsch had them in on Friday and there were a lot of individual meetings, there were a lot of collective meetings, Rodrigo was somebody he specifically wanted to speak to.”
All on the same page
That the players took responsibility for the miserable form up until the weekend’s victory over the Canaries is very encouraging.
They are the constant between the bad form under the previous manager, and then it continuing under the new one.
Had Marsch been the one who had to bring about the change in fortunes by dragging it out of the squad himself it could have been too big of a task.
The size of the institution that was Bielsa could have made it easy to hide behind his aura as things turned sour.
But with him gone there was nowhere left to hide, and for the players to have stepped up will inspire confidence in coaches and fans alike.
It doesn’t mean they are definitely safe, but it is easy to draw a line between them taking ownership of the situation post-Villa, and the belief they showed in coming back from an injury time Norwich equaliser to score an even later winner.
That Joe Gelhardt goal was the reward for that process, and with key men coming back from injury now it could show things coming together at the crucial time.
In other Leeds United news, the boss has given his view on Kalvin Phillips’ Whites future.