Jesse Marsch makes strong Leeds United claim and eyes key area for Whites 'edge' over Wolves

Jesse Marsch has issued a confident declaration about his new-look Leeds United side and is eyeing a particular area for a Whites edge over Saturday's visitors Wolves.

By Lee Sobot
Friday, 5th August 2022, 11:53 am

Leeds have lost the services of star duo Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips this summer, the pair joining Barcelona and Manchester City respectively for a combined total of around £100m.

Marsch, though, insists that the combination of the club's recruitment during the current window and additional clarity to his side's game has actually made United's first-choice XI better than last season’s ahead of Saturday's Premier League opener at Elland Road.

Summer signings Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams, Rasmus Kristensen and Marc Roca are all expected to start for a side who have also been boosted by the arrivals of currently injured winger Luis Sinisterra plus youngsters Darko Gyabi and Sonny Perkins.

EPIC BATTLE: Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch, left, hugs goalscorer Rodrigo after his side's incredible 3-2 success against Wolves at Molineux back in Marsch. Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images.

Marsch, though, has also warned about the strength of Saturday's visitors Wolves who the Whites coach hopes his side can have particular joy against from set pieces.

Marsch reasoned: "I believe our strongest line-up is better, stronger than it was last season and mostly because there's more clarity as to the way we want to play the game."

Pressed on what he was expecting from last season's tenth-placed finishers Wolves, for whom main striker Raul Jimenez is currently injured, Marsch reasoned: "They've changed a little bit in pre-season to four at the back.

"With Jimenez being out, it's made them also kind of retool some of the things that they've done.

"They've played (Daniel) Podence a little bit more in the striker position. "We'll see, he'll be on the pitch but whether he plays in that role or a different kind of role.

"I think that their manager is very intelligent, he has a lot of good tactical ideas, and they have an incredible player pool.

"I think their players are good in tight spaces are really intelligent. They fit well together.

"They defend really well, one of the best defending teams, if not the best defending team last year in the Prem and then they still can unbalance you with the way they move the ball.

"It challenges you in every phase of the game.

"I think we can really get an edge on set-pieces and we have to be really strong and clear with what our goals are in that phase of the game come Saturday.

"It’s a big challenge, one that we're excited for and let's go. Let's get started."

Leeds and Wolves were involved in a particularly epic clash at Molineux last March when an injury hit Whites somehow recovered from 2-0 down to record an epic 3-2 victory.

The win proved priceless in keeping the Whites on the final day of the season through a 2-1 win at Brentford as part of a campaign in which Leeds sacked promotion winning boss Marcelo Bielsa in February as the club hovered dangerously above the drop zone.

United's third consecutive season back in the Premier League now presents a new clean slate and the start of Marsch's first full season in charge but the Whites boss says he is under no illusions as to the task facing his Whites.

"It's not a relegation battle, but I know the games are so damn good and the opponents - like my respect of Wolves," said the Whites boss.

"To be fair, in the first half when we played Wolves at Wolves, we had a really good first 12-15 minutes but then they commanded the game with their quality with their tactics, with their ability to move the ball and we were a little bit lucky to turn the match the way we did.

"You can call it stress, you can call it pressure, it’s just the league is so good and it demands the absolute best out of you as a manager and as a team.

"I'm just totally focused on everything to try to get our team ready to have a good first step in the season and do everything we can to put ourselves in the best position to have a really strong season and feel very confident about who we are and what we're trying to achieve."