'He's a top player' - Wolves boss Bruno Lage on Leeds United star and Jesse Marsch changes

Wolves boss Bruno Lage says patience is one of the main changes instilled at Leeds United by new head coach Jesse Marsch.

By Graham Smyth
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 5:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2022, 5:36 pm

Marsch takes his Whites to Molineux for the fourth game of his Elland Road tenure tomorrow night, hoping to build momentum on the back of a vital 2-1 win over Norwich City on Sunday.

Lage has been an interested spectator as the American has taken his initial steps in English football and noticed distinct alterations in the way Leeds now operate, compared with the way they played under previous head coach Marcelo Bielsa.

“He changed some things," said Lage.

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"We can see now when they are there to press, they wait a little bit, they have more patience. They wait for the opponent to put the ball in some spaces, and then they start to run and start to press. I think they are a little bit more patient, but they come and in the end they run a lot, they press high to try to win the duels, when they are defending situations one against one and offensive they are in the same style."

Lage is a big fan of the attacking talent at Marsch's disposal, particularly now that Patrick Bamford has made his return. The once-capped English striker has had to battle through no fewer than four injuries this season and the Norwich game was his first start since September 17. His return gave the Leeds' frontline a much more potent look, with a focal point to aim at and a physical presence that disrupted the Canaries' backline.

He, along with a pair of his fellow forwards, are well known to Lage and his coaching staff.

“Some players changed a little bit their position, but good dynamic, they want to have the ball, solid at the back, two midfielders every time near the ball, to build up the game, and four amazing strikers," said the Wolves boss.

BIG CHALLENGE - Leeds United face a Bruno Lage Wolves side who boast the fourth best defensive record in the Premier League. Pic: Getty

"Bamford worked with Carlos [Cachada, fitness coach] at Middlesbrough, Raphinha played against me at Sporting, [Daniel] James was my player at Swansea, so they are good in attack. A strong opponent to play against."

The positivity has continued to flow for Leeds in the wake of that win on Sunday, with the return to full team training of both Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips. The pair are once again in contention to play, although Marsch seems unlikely to throw them straight back into the starting XI after over 100 days out following their respective hamstring surgeries.

Lage insists he's delighted to see England midfielder Phillips return, even if his potential presence could make life difficult for Wolves.

“It’s a motivation for my players," he said.

"Phillips is a good player, but in that place, I have Joao and Ruben, so they are doing also very well. That’s the challenge. For me, every time, the challenge is to put the pressure to play the way we play against their top players. Big pleasure to see Phillips back in the game, because he’s a top player."