Jesse Marsch training method proves ‘valuable’ as 10-man Leeds pick up point; boss praises team mentality

Jesse Marsch, Leeds United manager, celebrates their win over Wolves at Molineux

Jesse Marsch has revealed how he gets his Leeds players to train with a man down, a tactic which proved ‘valuable’ in their goalless draw with Aston Villa.

Leeds had to play with 10 men for most of the second half as summer signing Luis Sinisterra got a second yellow card for blocking a Villa free-kick. The Whites were already without Marsch on the touchline following his red card against Brentford prior to the international break.

Despite being a man down, Leeds defended well and stopped Villa from going ahead.

Illan Meslier looked nervy at times, but the goalkeeper did brilliantly to deny Ollie Watkins in the 89th minute. Emi Buendia had sent the striker through on goal, only for him to take too long with his shot. This allowed Meslier to make himself big and block for a corner.

Surprisingly, it was Leeds who had the chance to win the game in stoppage time. Patrick Bamford did well in the box and played in fellow substitute Mateusz Klich.

The midfielder had the goal at his mercy, but John McGinn made a fantastic sliding challenge to preserve Villa’s clean sheet.

During a post-match interview with BBC Match of the Day (via BBC Sport), Marsch said his ‘man down’ training method proved ‘valuable’. He also praised his side for fighting ‘like lions’.

“Obviously going a man down wasn’t ideal,” Marsch admitted. “We worked on some ‘man down’ tactics in the time we had in the last four weeks and I think it was valuable.

Leeds ‘fought like hell’ – Jesse Marsch

“We started with four at the back and felt we were maybe giving away too much at the back post and on the wide spaces so switched to a 5-3-1. I thought the team were pretty clear with what we wanted in the match and then we fought like hell.

“What we know about our team, our club, is that we fight like lions. Even when our backs our down we’ll give everything we have and you saw that mentality today.

“In the first half I think if we’re a little more assertive in the match then we can find a way to maybe take a lead in the match. But overall it’s a good clean sheet and a good result.”

Whites skipper Liam Cooper said: “The sending off changed the game. When the referee gives a booking so early, it sets the standard of what is a booking.

“It was stop-start but it was about managing that and not getting beaten so the boys can be proud of a good shift.

“We train with a man down so that came in useful today. We obviously didn’t have as much possession as we’d like with 10 men but the boys dug in.”

Forward reacts to Leeds draw

In a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Leeds striker Patrick Bamford said: “[The] circumstances made it a bit more difficult. The boys on the pitch the whole game were outstanding and we deserved a point. Villa had a game plan and part of that was slowing down our momentum.

“That worked to a point and then the tables turned in the second half and we had to do a bit of that ourselves.”

On his return from injury, Bamford added: “It was nice to be back on the pitch. You just want to play football, so hopefully I can now put some momentum together and start scoring some goals.”

Meanwhile, Leeds and Villa are vying to sign a mercurial talent from Rangers, according to a report.