Merson ‘cannot believe’ Leeds Utd decision to sack Jesse Marsch as Sky Sports pundit advises Bielsa return
Paul Merson has explained why he thinks Jesse Marsch was unlucky to get the sack by Leeds United, despite their perilous position in the Premier League.
Leeds relieved Jesse Marsch of his duties on Monday after a poor run of form which has left them above the relegation zone only on goal difference. Many Leeds fans had been starting to turn against the American tactician.
Now, someone else will have to inherit the task of keeping them out of the relegation zone. Marsch’s first Premier League job lasted less than a year.
Despite many Leeds fans agreeing with the decision to let him go, Sky Sports pundit Merson has expressed his surprise.
Merson said: “I can’t believe what’s happened at Leeds. I cannot believe what they’ve done.
“They’ve got back-to-back matches coming up against Manchester United in the space of four days and they’ve sacked the manager.
“Let’s be honest, this team is bang unlucky. Surely people are watching and thinking that the Leeds players were running around and putting the effort in for the manager. They just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”
Leeds shaped their squad for Marsch during each of the two transfer windows that were open while he was in charge.
However, they have been struggling to get results, despite some decent performances.
That said, Merson believes the squad rarely showed any sign of losing faith in Marsch on the pitch.
Players still seemed to trust Jesse Marsch
He added: “It feels like Leeds are one of those teams that if they click, they’ll be difficult to face. I still can’t see them going down.
“I really thought Leeds were doing alright this season, but they just needed that bit of luck to go their way. Every team needs luck. Arsenal need a bit of luck to be where they are.
“Things can change really quickly.
“In my opinion, I really think players get you the sack. There are times when you look at a group of players during a game and you can tell they don’t fancy it.
“But the Leeds players seemed to be running around for the manager. They couldn’t give any more really, but I just cannot believe the decision Leeds have taken.”
Over the summer, Leeds brought in some players who had worked with Marsch before in the shape of Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams and Rasmus Kristensen.
They did something similar with the addition of Max Wober in January. Furthermore, the American connection helped them win the race for Weston McKennie.
Merson continued: “Leeds have also brought new players in, who have signed for Marsch. He knew these players and they have joined the club on the strength of him being the manager. All of a sudden, he’s gone.
“I’d like to think the players thought they’d have a better chance of getting something from these games with Man Utd with Marsch as manager.
“They weren’t a million miles off.”
Merson suggests Leeds revert back to Bielsa
Regardless of Merson’s claims, Marsch has gone and Leeds need to look forward. They need to stay above Everton, Bournemouth and Southampton, the current bottom three.
But Everton seem to have been boosted by the appointment of Sean Dyche after their own managerial change. His first game in charge saw them beat league leaders Arsenal.
Hence, Leeds will be looking over their shoulders. They need to find someone who can give them a similar boost, ahead of a critical run of fixtures.
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According to Merson, though, it will be hard for their squad to change their style. In turn, the ex-Arsenal player has suggested they ought to be thinking about offering Bielsa a second spell at Elland Road.
Merson concluded: “Leeds haven’t got the players to do what Everton did under Sean Dyche against Arsenal. They have a completely different style.
“I think the only way they could potentially get out of trouble is to bring Marcelo Bielsa back.
“Leeds are used to playing in a certain way. They play at 100 miles-per-hour. It’s high-pressure football and they are full of energy. They could do worse than bringing Bielsa back. The fans would be on board with it.
“It’s so difficult to change style midway through a season.
“That’s why Bielsa didn’t go to Everton. He looked at the players and thought that they couldn’t play in the way he wanted. However, Dyche looked at the Everton squad and it was completely different. Those players are a dream for Dyche.
“Now this Leeds team can still play in the way Bielsa wants to play. The players haven’t got time to change and get used to a completely new style of playing.
“Because of that Bielsa has to be an option.”
Bielsa previously spent the best part of four years with Leeds, guiding them to their long-awaited return to the Premier League. The club got rid of him after a downturn in fortunes this time last year, but are at a crossroads once again.
A return for the Argentine would seem extremely unlikely, though. There are several other candidates who will be under consideration by Leeds. With any luck, they will find someone who can bring more stability than Jesse Marsch managed.
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