Jesse Marsch aided by Frank Lampard after Leeds United coach makes inexperience admission

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch has admitted he has little experience of relegation battles

By Joe Donnohue
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 11:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 11:19 am

Twelve months ago, Leeds United surged into the Premier League's top half with seven wins and one defeat in their final ten matches of the 2020/21 campaign.

Read More

Read More
Leeds United CEO's traditional input absent as errors and relegation peril rende...

The Whites won each of their last four fixtures against Burnley, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion to finish the season in ninth place.

FIGHT: Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch admitted he has limited experience of relegation (OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

This time around due to a multitude of factors both internal and external, United are fighting for their Premier League status.

Norwich City's relegation was confirmed last weekend, while Watford's stay in the top flight looks set to end after just one season.

Above those sides sit Burnley, Everton and Leeds United, all jostling to avoid 18th place.

Currently, Leeds occupy 17th having been leapfrogged by Burnley's victory over Watford at the weekend.

United are two points ahead of Everton but the Toffees have a game in hand and rather unexpectedly defeated Manchester United and Chelsea in their last two home matches.

While Everton and Burnley picked up vital wins, Leeds were beaten by Premier League champions Manchester City.

Prior to that game, head coach Jesse Marsch admitted he has little experience clawing for points at the wrong end of the table. The vast majority of his managerial career has been spent either in divisions where there is no promotion and relegation, or coaching title contenders.

"I'm used to being on the other end of the spectrum - fighting for the title," Marsch said.

Fortunately, Leeds are going head-to-head with teams whose coaches also have limited exposure to the present situation.

Everton's Frank Lampard is still regarded by many as something of a managerial novice, in only his fourth season as a first-team boss, with no experience of relegation in his playing or managerial career.

Meanwhile, Sean Dyche's interim successor at Turf Moor is former Tranmere Rovers and Shrewsbury Town head coach Mike Jackson, who has taken charge of fewer than 40 senior games as a caretaker or permanent manager.

Despite this, the Clarets have won three and drawn one in the four matches since Dyche's exit.

Whether this levels the playing field remains to be seen, but it certainly creates a different dynamic at the bottom of the table, compared to competing against a side coached by renowned survival expert Sam Allardyce, for example.

In this sense, Marsch, Jackson and Lampard are alike.

"I don't have the energy to think about the table, and how other teams are doing and what it's gonna look like at the end of the year," Marsch said prior to the Whites' 4-0 defeat by Manchester City.

"I assumed from the very second that I took the job that I was going to be knee deep in everything until May 22 and I think it'll stay that way."

The challenge facing Leeds is a considerable one, but their fate remains very much in their own hands with four matches still to play.

Having lost stalwart Stuart Dallas to a femoral fracture, Adam Forshaw to a fractured knee-cap, Patrick Bamford to a ruptured plantar fascia, as well as Liam Cooper missing Saturday evening's defeat, Leeds need all the experience Marsch can muster from the dugout.

His limited exposure to the current dogfight is not exactly an advantage, but nor is it a disadvantage when compared to that of his immediate rivals.