Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch's pre-Southampton press conference on team news, Kalvin Phillips, Raphinha, FC Barcelona and Joe Gelhardt

Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch spoke to the media today ahead of Saturday's return to Premier League action against Southampton and here is everything that was said.

By Lee Sobot
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 6:02 pm

Leeds are seeking a third win on the spin having followed up a last-gasp 2-1 victory at home to Norwich City with a thrilling 3-2 triumph at Wolves, the Whites bagging all three points at Molineux despite seeing four players go off injured.

The Whites are now approaching Saturday's clash against the 11th-placed Saints sat fifth-bottom in the table and seven points clear of the drop zone but having played more games than the four sides below them.

Leeds are four points ahead of fourth-bottom Everton who have three games in hand and the Whites are seven clear of third-bottom Watford who have played one game less and host United in the club's second game in April.

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FACING THE PRESS: Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Marsch's side are eight points clear of second-bottom Burnley but the Clarets have played three games less.

Norwich City prop up the table and the Canaries are 12 points behind Leeds with just one game in hand.

Saturday's visitors Southampton have lost their last three league games and last four in league and cup.

Jesse will be speaking to the media at 1pm and here is every word said by the Whites head coach.

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Leeds United v Southampton: Jesse Marsch press conference every word

Last updated: Thursday, 31 March, 2022, 15:42

  • Leeds face Saints on Saturday at 3pm at Elland Road
  • Jesse Marsch spoke to the media at 1pm today

For Jesse Marsch’s pre-Southampton press conference today. All the news to follow here.

Jesse Marsch will be with us shortly

First up, team news in full:

“I’ll start with a few things. We had Raphinha that had Covid and then over the break we’ve had some Covid here as well, a lot with the staff actually so the timing for us was actually pretty good but coming back now we think everybody is free from those concerns, hopefully, knock on wood, for the match.

“We also know it’s the last matchday that we’ll be doing so much testing here in England [before Premier League testing protocols change.

“Then I will give you a quick update on the injuries situation.

“Obviously we made the announcement about Patrick Bamford and personally I was really disappointed that this happened to Patrick, that this is the way that it ended up.

“We felt we were trying to create a progression that protected him in a good way but this injury is a tricky one for anyone who has ever had it before, it’s not so straightforward and often how to manage the pain, how to get through every moment so that you are progressing but not overstressing is not so easy to get the balance right and unfortunately he ruptured a small part of it.

“Upon visiting some experts they have actually said that it’s the best thing that could have happened to him long term which is a funny thing to say but it relieved a lot of the pressure and the stress and the pain that he had in that area and he is actually already feeling better than he felt before.

“We’re hopeful this six week prognosis that we gave is accurate and we have to then I think put him on a new progression that gets him healthy, strong and back to 100 per cent.

“Additionally Leo was back in training a little bit this week.

“He won’t be available for the weekend but he is back in training.

Junior is getting closer and closer and is ahead of schedule so that’s good news.

“Jamie Shackleton had a little bit of a calf injury but he is back on the pitch, not with the team yet but hopefully in a couple of weeks he will be available and the last one is that Tyler Roberts is looking good and feeling good and even though he won’t be back this season we will like the surgery was a success and that he is on the start to a good patch so that’s our updates for now.”

Is Bamford out for the season?

“No. I think the six weeks means that I think he can be available for the last two matches. We will have to wait and see exactly how everything goes but, like I said, he says is walking better, feeling better, pain free which he wasn’t for the last six months/four months so we are optimistic and hopeful.”

On five subs - are you in favour of that?

“Yes. I am in favour of that and I believe that it helps the game, it makes games faster, more intensive. For me, it also helps when you are developing players, that they can have more playing time. Right now, I came from a situation where for two years I was operating with five substitutions and now going back to three, it’s an interesting feeling, I feel handcuffed more on the bench by not being able to affect the games as much by putting in more fresh players and being still aggressive in the match. I think it helps the quality of the game. I have heard the argument that the better teams have better rosters but there is also the argument that the better teams have a better XI so the better teams are better, I understand that, but in the end, I like, especially with the way we play and the aggression that we like to use, I like having more fresh players on the pitch than fewer.”

On Rodrigo as a leader- the main striker now?

“I see him as a leader in the team and I see him as guy that is committing 100 per cent to everything we are trying to accomplish as a group and I can say that about every guy. But for sure with Rodrigo he wants to learn the ideas that we are presenting, he wants to commit to the tactics, he wants to be aggressive in the right moments and to still help the team with the ball and to have quality and execute in the last third. For me, working with him, getting to know him has been absolutely outstanding. I think as a human being he is an incredible person and I still think I can help him grow and get better and continue develop. I believe that about all players, whether they are 35 or 15, that there is still room for development and certainly part of his development is the role he plays within the team as a leader because the guys still look to him in a lot of ways. I am really happy to be here and to work with him and to get to know him more and I think he is going to continue to play a massive role for us in the offensive part of the field but get better and better at counter pressing and pressing and winning balls and all those things as well.”

On work during the break

“We have been able to work through some tactical topics more and create better understanding with relationships in al phases of the game. I think that has been useful. We haven’t had everybody here or everybody on the pitch every day but even the video sessions again and some of the guys coming back, just updating them on some of the work that has been done and helping them understand the analysis that we have made over the last two weeks and then make sure that it can lead to a better and better performance, especially come Saturday. It is an eager group, hungry, hungry for more and I think we have to really maintain that mentality and understand that even though we have got six points and we have relieved some of the stress in terms of where we are in the table, that the best way to continue to control that is to make sure that we are really focused on every performance every day and maximising what we are doing.”

On the two recent wins and having time now

“In the past two weeks, I promised Andrea and Angus and Victor that I would focus entirely on the first team and making sure that all the energy was going into what was necessary to help the first team be successful. But I can’t help but to also thinking about what we are trying to do here as a club so we have obviously worked intensively with the players over the last two weeks but balanced in I think a little bit of a mental and physical break for them too on the weekends and then it is also allowed a little bit more time to have a few more discussions with the Academy coaches and have some style of play discussions and see if we can start the process with the entire club about moving more and more to the idea of football that we are trying to put in place with the first team so in all ways I think getting to know people more, more people getting to know me and continuing to work together with everyone within the club from all levels is going to continue to make us better and better and stronger and stronger. I really good about the last two weeks.”

On style of play and being open

“I think in general it’s just continuing to finetune the relationships on the pitch tactically so that they understand when the opponent presents challenges to us through whatever they may want to do with or against the ball, that we understand what our solutions are and what we’re trying to execute.

“And often how it works with the way that I think about football, is that all 11 players have to really fit within the context of what we’re doing and that’s where the compactness is important so, yes, I know that there’s discussions about that we play narrow.

“But, for me, I call it more controlling spaces because we want to be good with the ball and against the ball but we also want to be good in transition moments in both directions and to do that, the more compact you are and numbers you have around the ball, you can control those moments better.

“There are still moments to be expansive, especially with the ball and we have to get that balance right but always understanding what our reactions are, what our behaviours are specifically when we win the ball and when we lose the ball are really important to my philosophy of how we want to play football.”

“In 2016 and ‘17 in the winter, Ralph was kind enough to allow me to join his staff for about six, seven weeks in that time.

“Ralph is an incredible human being.

“That’s the first thing that needs to be said, that he is a really good person that cares about people and cares about his teams and the environments that he creates and then he’s a sharp, intelligent manager and I think he believes in a lot of the same principles and philosophies that I believe in in football.

“And I learned a lot from from the weeks that I spent with him in that time and the way that he leads and the way that he talks and the way that he thinks so maybe that helps our team and me prepare for what he is and what his team is right now.

“But more importantly I look back at it and reflect on it as a really helpful time for me and a really special time to spend with him.”

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