Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch discusses Raphinha availability as injury concerns grow

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch has discussed injuries to Jack Harrison and Raphinha as well as his verdict on Daniel James' red card

By Joe Donnohue
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 4:45 am

Leeds United's failure to gain anything from their latest match against Chelsea has left the team languishing in the bottom three with fixtures running out before the end of the season.

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Leeds United suffer at hands of ruthless Chelsea as relegation worries deepen

Only two games remain for Leeds to pick up points and save themselves from a return to the second tier.

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They will face Brighton and Hove Albion at home this Sunday, before travelling to Brentford seven days later.

Daniel James' red card during the first half against the Blues compounded the misery of Chelsea's early goal and gave the head coach yet another selection headache to contend with.

Here are three talking points from the YEP in response to United's latest defeat and imminent relegation danger.

In his post-match press conference, head coach Jesse Marsch refused to blame Daniel James for the reckless challenge which saw him shown a straight red card.

DEFEAT: Raphinha reacts to Leeds United's latest result (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The American was questioned on the discipline of his side following their latest defeat, in the wake of Luke Ayling's red card at the Emirates Stadium last weekend.

Marsch admitted his players had perhaps exhibited too much aggression in recent weeks, leading to the injury of Stuart Dallas, and the red cards shown to Ayling and James.

The 48-year-old did refute the suggestion that Dallas' tackle on Jack Grealish which resulted in his femoral fracture could be categorised along with James and Ayling's challenges, but acknowledged his side's overzealousness.

Marsch has shouldered responsibility for his players' performances since his arrival but the lack of attacking cohesion during their latest defeat to nil against 'top six' opposition was cause for concern and another discussion topic at Elland Road.

While the quality of Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea is undoubtedly greater than that of Leeds, there appeared little composure from United's players when rare forays into the opposition's third were made, throughout those three matches.

Going down to ten men in the first half of two of those matches serves as something of a caveat but does not materially lessen concern with the team still occupying a space in the bottom three, having played a game more than immediate relegation rivals Burnley and Everton.

Another talking point from Wednesday night's defeat is a familiar one: the shrinking pool of players available to the head coach.

Leeds lost Daniel James to suspension, days after losing Luke Ayling for the remainder of the campaign.

This is in addition to Crysencio Summerville, Adam Forshaw, Stuart Dallas and Tyler Roberts who are all sidelined until next season.

Patrick Bamford was not involved in the matchday squad and is only just returning to full training with the group, while Jack Harrison was withdrawn during the first half and will require a scan to determine the severity of his latest injury.

In short, Leeds' options are increasingly limited when they need them most.

"Raphinha's [substitution] I think was more precautionary, he was cramping and I just wanted to make sure that we didn't push him too much. And we'll see how Jack is," Marsch said.

"We'll have to scan them in the morning."