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Marsch reveals he had to set Kalvin Phillips record straight in Leeds talks amid relegation battle

Jesse Marsch, Leeds v Southampton April 2022

Jesse Marsch has revealed that he rubbished Kalvin Phillips’ claim that he “didn’t do much” on his return to Leeds United action.

The midfielder made his first appearance since December last Saturday following a lengthy hamstring injury. He came on as a substitute against Southampton, with both sides looking to find a winner.

And despite the eventual 1-1 draw, the point moved Leeds a little further away from the relegation zone.

Leeds boss Marsch hailed Phillips shortly after the match, insisting that the 26-year-old’s presence was immediately noticeable.

Phillips was more humble in his assessment of his return, according to Marsch. And the manager has revealed that he had to reiterate to the midfielder his importance to the team.

Marsch was speaking after centre-back Liam Cooper also made his return to the side against Southampton.

“Both have a big effect in our group on and off the pitch,” the manager told a press conference.

“Liam put in a courageous, 90-plus performance and is one of our best players. He matched tactically what we want from the game.

Kalvin Phillips is happy to extend Leeds contract

Kalvin Phillips is happy to extend Leeds contract

Provided that Leeds stay up, Kalvin Phillips is reportedly happy to extend his contract at Leeds United.

“It’s really impressive to adapt so quickly and easily. Kalvin brought poise and settled the game down. He said he didn’t do much, but just being on the pitch meant a lot.

“This week we’ve got them more and more to 100 per cent. They’re ready to contribute on Saturday.”

Leeds face Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday in a crunch clash at the bottom of the Premier League table.

The Whites sit 16th after 31 matches, six points clear of 18th-placed Burnley who have two games in hand. Watford are in 19th and can tighten the battle with victory.

Marsch focused on Leeds task

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch on the touchline during the Premier League match at Elland Road,

Marsch insisted that Leeds are still in a relegation battle despite picking up seven points out of nine in recent weeks. And he added that his players are only focusing on what they can control.

“I look only at this match,” the manager said. “We have to look at their mindset and their chance to close the gap.

“We have to understand what they will have, a good team at their place will not be easy. We’re focused on all these things.

“Our group, after [Aston] Villa, has shown an understanding of what’s necessary for every match.

“We are still in a relegation battle, we know that, we’re not naive. Watching the table does not do anything for that. The best thing is to control ourselves and not stress the external situation.

“None of us think we are safe or a completed project. It’s all about pushing every day to be better.”

Leeds beat Watford 1-0 at Elland Road in October for their first win of the season, with Diego Llorente scoring the winner.