'A crazy thing to say' - Jesse Marsch clings to Leeds United positives after Man City defeat

Jesse Marsch was proud of his Leeds United players after a 4-0 defeat to Manchester City that he insisted was like a win in 'many ways.'

By Graham Smyth
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 9:18 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th April 2022, 9:21 pm

The Whites were competitive against the Premier League leaders but failed to take chances that came their way, while the visitors were ruthless by comparison.

A pair of set-piece goals, one in each half, were particularly disappointing for Marsch yet his overriding emotion was pride due to a performance that gives him hope for the relegation battle.

"It's a shame, we have defended so well in set-piece situations," he said.

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"If you take out those two goals, the first 70 minutes were pretty good. City are a team who can move the ball and hurt you, but we had control in many parts of the match. I'm proud. I challenged them to play with confidence and belief, to go after City and make it hard for them - they did all of that.

"Before the match I said we want to look each other in the eye and say 'that's our best'. I think we can comfortably do that. We wanted something to take with us, to continue to grow from the experience and to be ready for the next four massive challenges - I think we can do that. We knew it wouldn't be easy. I came from vacation into a relegation battle and I knew it would go to wire and we are up for it. The confidence I have in our group, their workrate and desire, gives me optimism and confidence. It won't be easy but we'll keep pushing."

Marsch was also buoyed by the response from the Elland Road crowd, who continued to make a remarkable amount of noise even as the scoreline worsened late on.

"The best part was the fans' response," he said.

PROUD MANAGER - Jesse Marsch said his players could look each other in the eye and say they'd given their best for Leeds United against Manchester City. Pic: Getty

"A 4-0 home loss and there was so much passion and love for the team from the fans. I have never seen a place like this, and it's a very unique relationship the club has with its fanbase and the city. I wasn't being facetious when I said it was the best team in the world against the best club in the world. This club is very unique. That isn't pandering to our fans, maybe they think that, I'm just calling it like I see it."

Leeds' biggest failing in the game was perhaps letting their visitors off the hook having worked their way into dangerous positions, yet as ever the head coach was sticking resolutely to the positives and saw enough to believe Leeds can take heart from this performance as they face the final four games of the Premier League season.

"There was a lack of composure in the final third, and leading to the final third too," he said.

"That's where we are. We are still not able to quite slow the game down in key moments and have quality to create big chances and goals. Another day, we manage it better. For that Joffy chance, Ederson makes such a ridiculous save. If we feel we can play like that against City, we can play like that against anybody. On the scoresheet it's a loss, but it's a win in many ways. At 4-0, it's a crazy thing to say but I truly believe that.

"So much has changed in the last two months. I feel like we've been ahead of schedule the whole time. I'm only taking positives from this. This was almost a write off game. Manchester City is the best team in the world, we would have surprised everyone to get any points out of it. The performance was more important to me. We'll take it with us."