Jesse Marsch fires strong warning to Leeds United players and makes Liverpool admission
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Marsch knows the heat is on himself and his club in a big way following a run of eight games without a victory and a haul of just two points from a last possible 24. The awful return has left Leeds in the Premier League's relegation zone and United’s American head coach admits his third-bottom team are now travelling to face one of the "best teams in the world" in Saturday night’s hosts Liverpool. The Whites boss has declared that Jurgen Klopp's Reds have no weaknesses but Marsch has outlined United's necessary Anfield game plan and is now looking for the players who can fulfil it.
“We know Leeds United is a big club," said Marsch. "I’ve learned that first hand. I knew that before I came but I’ve learned so much more since living here and being part of this. It means that the intensity of the focus from the outside gets magnified. But it means that internally, we have to be even stronger. It’s not a club that’s for people that can’t handle this business at its highest. I think that we know that internally, whether that’s the players, the staff or the board. We have stayed true to the plan that we have had and the belief that we have had and we need it right now, we need it.
Marsch added: "I’m tired of playing matches where we’re in the match, and in many cases better than the opponent and walking away with nothing. I’m tired of not capitalising on moments where we are the better in matches and I’m tired of giving away goals too cheaply. And I’m tired of not getting results that we should be getting.
“I was 14 years a player and 13 years as a coach and I’ve never lost this much in my career. And I’m sick of it. And so I’m trying to figure out which guys can be counted on at the highest level right now, what kinds of decisions need to be made from a tactical perspective in terms of match plans and I need to find the group and help the group find their confidence and I need to find which guys are ready for everything right now so that in these next matches we can do everything we can to get the points we need.”
Asked to pinpoint any weaknesses in tonight's hosts Liverpool - a side who qualified for the Champions League last 16 with a 3-0 win at Ajax on Wednesday - Marsch admitted: “The weaknesses in Liverpool?! Holy....It’s not that we see a weakness in them, it’s can we challenge them in terms of the intensity at which we play and with the ball and can we limit them as much as possible? Can we find ways to limit them at set pieces where they have been incredibly effective and can we not let them get out on the counter and can we find more situations where we can get out on the counter?
"Both teams like to play on the counter and they are one of the most lethal in the world at that. I wouldn’t describe Liverpool as having weaknesses, I would just try to say that we will have a game plan and we will try to stick to it and we will try to execute it to the best of our ability to give ourselves the best chance in the match.
“I have gotten to know Jurgen Klopp a little bit over the years, he is relentless in his commitment to making his team better and his belief of the way he does things and Liverpool for me has been one of the best teams in the world over the last four or five years. I think no matter what, that this is a group of professional players that understand what the demands are. They have a lot of niggling injuries right now. Their backs have been against the wall already a little bit this year in different ways than where we’re at. But we know the quality they have, we know at home they're incredibly good. The way they responded in the game against Ajax shows everything and we’re expecting their absolute best.
“We have to be disciplined and compact. We don’t want to open the game up where they can be outrunning the entire match and using their talent and qualities that they have in open space. But we still have to find ways to command the game with the ball and what we do in possession and then it has to be our best pressing game and our best counter pressing game, it has to be our most disciplined game, it has to be our most intensive game. In those standards we have to now make sure that we’re at our highest level.”