Leeds United hero gives assessment on Jesse Marsch claim and attacker's confidence issue
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There's one Leeds United related thing I want to see this week and one I absolutely do not.
Looking at the FA Cup in previous seasons it wasn't much of a priority for us at all, which was shown in the teams we put out, which in turn led to defeats and some pretty poor ones.
The timing of this fourth round tie, I think, makes it crucial. We need a good, solid performance and no mistakes. Score some goals, get through the tie with relative ease. Of course it's not going to be that easy, it'll be an FA Cup final for the opposition, but if we play at 95 per cent then we'll get through and with the Nottingham Forest game on the horizon, some positivity and momentum would go a long way.
Of the players who could come into the side and play, I'd most like to see Georginio Rutter feature. Jesse Marsch explained why he was held back against Brentford but the sooner he gets out there on the pitch the better. Ordinarily you might not want to play him in this sort of cup tie but he needs to get some minutes in his legs and get used to his new surroundings on the pitch, so like everyone else, I'd welcome his presence in the side to see what he can offer.
A sight I would not welcome whatsoever would be Marcelo Bielsa going in at Everton, although the looks on the faces of their players after a day's training with him would be a picture. What he did at Leeds was to transform things completely, turn us around and give us an identity and energy. I certainly hope he doesn't take that job because he could get them going in the right direction and from a Leeds point of view, we don't want that.
As for Leeds right now under Jesse Marsch there are two schools of thought when you talk to anyone about this season. There's the Marsch view that we're heading in the right direction, and then there's the view that not winning games is not good enough.
I think those two things actually go hand-in-hand. To get the belief in the squad you need the affirmation of points. Three points is what needs to come at the end of the game so players can say we really are doing this right.
Looking at Sunday's game against Brentford, we've talked about wanting to see an improvement defensively because it looked like we had goals sorted. But getting that balance is difficult. On Sunday, at least, we defended very well against a wily old side with a pair of attackers who have caused havoc for us in the past.
We couldn't quite break them down to go one further and add the attacking bit. You can see how the performance was an improvement and yet we still need three points and the vital affirmation. They've got to come quickly and if they do, you can see us heading on the right trajectory. The longer we have to keep saying that, the more difficult it becomes so this transfer window is important to plug a gap or two. We've added the experience and leadership of Max Wober, we've added a striker and that was important, but all of the positives must add up to wins.
Marsch felt that Brenden Aaronson had one of his best games on Sunday and the youngster is an interesting one because when he came into the side I would have held him up as a difference maker for us. He was twisting and turning higher up the pitch and helping to make things happen, even if he wasn't scoring many goals.
He's struggled recently, there's no doubt confidence has taken a hit and even against Brentford there were two or three times early on where he lost the ball. It's difficult because the position he plays, he has to keep holding that ball and he has to bring others into play, and always be an option for the midfield and defenders. When that doesn't happen suddenly we can't get through the thirds of the pitch when we have possession. Did he play better? I suppose he played okay. I think he did all right. But I've seen him play way better than that.
It's something every player goes through. Jack Harrison has at times. Everyone does, myself included. You have patches when you're on top of the world and everything is quite easy, then suddenly it's a struggle and you've got to work hard at it to get back to your top form.
Nowadays, there is a big squad, there's a lot of players out there waiting and I'm sure they're all thinking well if someone's not in great form, I want my chance . Brendan got another chance against Brentford and did okay but I still think there's plenty more to come and he needs to keep working at it and try and get back to where he was. We'd all like to see that.