Leeds United

Leeds United


Jesse Marsch emphasises size of Leeds ‘fight’, refusing to blame Ayling or Meslier

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch

Jesse Marsch has vowed that Leeds United will “fight for our lives” after they fell into the Premier League relegation zone with just three games to go.

Leeds United lost 2-1 to Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, after falling behind early on. Ex-loanee Eddie Nketiah made the most of an Illan Meslier error to put the Gunners ahead before doubling their advantage inside 10 minutes.

Luke Ayling was then given a straight red card before the half-hour mark to make it an even more uphill climb for Marsch’s men.

But they pulled one back via Diego Llorente in the second half, only to fail to find an equaliser.

It means they are in the bottom three due to an inferior goal difference to Burnley, after the bad news that Everton had won against Leicester to overtake them.

Leeds can only focus on themselves and they will have to be better in their remaining matches to stand any chance of staying in the top-flight.

Their manager, who replaced Marcelo Bielsa in February, is aware they have to raise their standards. That said, he knew he was inheriting a tricky task all along.

For the Arsenal loss, he praised their reaction in the second half but admitted the damage had already been done.

He told Match of the Day: “I think we had a really bad start and dug a hole for ourselves which we didn’t need to.

“At half-time we talked about keeping our composure and treating the game like it was 0-0. That’s what we did.

“Obviously we are in a difficult situation. We have now lost two right-backs for the season in two matches. We have to regroup and figure out what we can do.

“Our backs are against the wall. We are in the relegation zone but we have to fight for our lives.

“When I came here two months ago I knew this was not going to be easy. The group has stayed strong. Our second-half performance highlights the character of the people we have here.

“The fans and the support at this club is unreal. We want to put a performance on the pitch that honours that support.”

Jesse Marsch refuses to blame Ayling and Meslier

Much of the focus will understandably be on Meslier and Ayling for their respective errors in the first half. However, Marsch thinks it would be damaging to blame them.

He added, as quoted by The Telegraph“If we start playing the blame games with players, we’re screwed. We’ve got to stick together and fight for points. It’s not a time to point the finger.”

Marsch continued: “The ironic thing was this was 500 games [in his career] for Luke, but it was a moment of poor judgment. But he has been an incredible part of the team since I have been here.

“Young goalkeepers can make mistakes, but the rest of his game was quite good today. We are going to need him in the last three games.”

Leeds are next in action against Chelsea at Elland Road on Wednesday.

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