American coach Jesse Marsch was hired by Leeds on Monday, with the club hoping a late-season change in manager can help to preserve its English Premier League status.
Marsch replaced Marcelo Bielsa, who was fired on Sunday following a dramatic downturn in results, and is back in work nearly three months after leaving German team Leipzig.
He was previously at another Red Bull-backed club in Salzburg, which he led to back-to-back league-and-cup doubles in Austria.
Marsch has signed a deal until June 2025, with the appointment pending international clearance.
Leeds has dropped to within two points of the relegation zone after losing five of its last six league games. A 4-0 loss to Tottenham on Saturday proved to be Bielsa’s final match in charge and meant Leeds had let in 20 goals in February — the most conceded in a single month in league history.
“I have to identify how to do the important things and simple things right away, before building the complexity moving forwards,” Marsch said
“We have all the tools here. I’m here to help this group understand how we can get better and handling the moment right now, we have to stay calm and control what we can control. We are still in a good situation where we control all of our destiny.”
Embedded in the Red Bull project for the last seven years through his coaching roles in New York, Salzburg and for four months at Leipzig, Marsch has an attacking, hard-running, heavy-pressing style that is not too dissimilar to Bielsa’s.
“My style of play, my aggressiveness and the desire I have for teams to be intensive and to run and make things difficult for the opponent fits with what has been done here for 3 1/2 years, (under Bielsa),” the former U.S. midfielder said.
That should make the transition easier for the 48-year-old Marsch at Leeds, though he takes over a team low on confidence and with a number of injuries to key players such as first-choice striker Patrick Bamford, England midfielder Kalvin Phillips and captain Liam Cooper.
Marsch follows fellow American Bob Bradley, who managed Swansea for 85 days in 2016, in coaching in the Premier League. There was also David Wagner, a German-born former U.S. international, who managed Huddersfield in England’s top division from 2017-19.
Marsch’s first game in charge will be against Leicester on Saturday and he acknowledged he has a hard act to follow in Bielsa, who got Leeds back into the Premier League for the first time since 2004 and is one of the world’s most respected coaches.
“I followed his career and watched what he has done from afar and certainly he is a hero here,” Marsch said. “How he has helped transform Leeds United into a Premier League team is pretty amazing.
“For me, I just want help to take the torch to the next phase. Everything that has been done has laid an incredible foundation.”
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