Jesse Marsch reveals Leeds United’s specific defensive tactic after new man’s confession

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch has shed light on the Whites’ tactics
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Leeds’ tactical setup this season has shifted from the widely understood and popular brand of football brought to Elland Road by former manager Marcelo Bielsa.

Under Jesse Marsch, Leeds are aggressive out of possession and look to play through the middle of the park when the ball is in their care.

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Rarely do coaches reveal the intricacies of their preferred styles, but in a recent press conference Marsch described the instructions he has given the defence in the build-up phase.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30: Jesse Marsch, Manager of Leeds United, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Leeds United and Everton FC at Elland Road on August 30, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)LEEDS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30: Jesse Marsch, Manager of Leeds United, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Leeds United and Everton FC at Elland Road on August 30, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
LEEDS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30: Jesse Marsch, Manager of Leeds United, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Leeds United and Everton FC at Elland Road on August 30, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

"I also think Pascal at left-back, quasi left centre-back, three build-up, sometimes four build-up, has also been fantastic. Much better than we had hoped,” the head coach said prior to Leeds’ trip to Brentford last weekend.

Marsch specifying that Leeds look to use Pascal Struijk – who has deputised on the left-hand side of defence this season – as a third central defender in build-up phases suggests the American has asked right-back Rasmus Kristensen to occupy a more advanced position ahead of the ball.

The Dane has made attempts to acclimatise to Premier League football and has confessed to Marsch, with whom he worked at FC Red Bull Salzburg for two seasons, that impacting matches in England is more difficult than some Champions League fixtures.

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“One of the things I said to him was ‘listen, the reason you came here was to get out of your comfort zone and to challenge yourself and to believe you can adapt and grow and get better from the situation,’” Marsch told reporters.

“We went through this even a little bit at Salzburg. For me, after two years and this last year in Salzburg, he was probably their best player, their most impactful player.

“He said to me ‘I feel like I was making 10 to 20 impactful moments per match at Salzburg, Champions League, in the league and here, it's hard for me to make one or two or three’. I said ‘yeah, the level's big’ and he agrees.”

While fellow summer additions Brenden Aaronson, Marc Roca, Tyler Adams and Luis Sinisterra have hit the ground running, Kristensen’s adaptation has been more gradual.

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Although, this is perhaps due to the specifics of his particularly demanding role which requires him to support attacks as well as providing defensive stability.

Kristensen faces a couple of weeks on the sidelines with the injury which kept him out of last weekend’s Brentford defeat, however it is possible he will not miss any football after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and subsequent postponements.

Upon his return, he will vie for a place in the starting XI alongside stalwart Luke Ayling who recently made a comeback from knee surgery, and youngster Cody Drameh who featured from the beginning at the Gtech Stadium in west London.