Jesse Marsch issues verdict on Leeds United striker pair after costly moments against Arsenal

Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch has backed Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo after one missed a crucial penalty and the other made a costly error for Arsenal's winner.
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Marsch started with Rodrigo as the number 9 and although the Spaniard was involved in some bright moments in the first half, his risky, wayward pass led directly to the move that Bukayo Saka finished off for a 1-0 lead.

Bamford replaced Rodrigo at the break and his presence helped change the game, Leeds creating numerous chances, a number of which fell to the substitute. But having failed to capitalise on one-v-one situations against keeper Aaron Ramsdale, Bamford then missed a penalty as Leeds' search for a deserved equaliser came up short. Marsch said the half-time swap was always going to happen at some point and Rodrigo would remain important to the side.

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"We knew that the workload for that position was going to be heavy, and so the idea was that we were going to trade Rodrigo and Patrick no matter what, and we just decided to do it at half-time," he said

"Obviously, Rodrigo makes the choice to play this big switch that is not normally what we'd like to do, and it leads to a moment that costs him and the team, but in general, you know, Rodri has had a good run of form with us and we need him. We need him to get hot, we need Patrick to get hot. We need guys to score goals. So, you know, obviously, I'm disappointed for Rodri but in the end, he's still an important guy."

Bamford gave the Arsenal centre-backs a torrid second half with his movement but could not find the net in open play or from the spot. Although Marsch suggested the penalty was a psychological thing rather than any issue with Bamford’s technique, the striker did step forward when Leeds were initially awarded a second spot-kick later in the game. Referee Chris Kavanagh then reversed his decision after a VAR intervention.

"The thing with Patrick is that I said even in the press conference this week, if a striker is not getting chances, then you're more worried about than if he's missing them," said Marsch.

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"Obviously a penalty winds up being more of like a psychological issue, even when you miss the frame, than even a quality issue. But I feel like Patrick's coming into form. He's looking physically strong and now hopefully we can develop a rhythm with him and we can be a different team if he can catch on fire."