Leeds United staff given training ground priority and four-week deadline as worrying trend emerges

Jesse Marsch’s Leeds United side have found it difficult to maintain a scoreline advantage throughout his time as Whites boss
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Since Jesse Marsch’s arrival in February, Leeds have won eight Premier League matches. In six of those games, Leeds have relied on a late winner to secure all three points. Last Saturday’s inability to hold an advantage over Tottenham Hotspur proved to be – as Marsch himself admitted at full-time – a microcosm of the team’s season.

United are seemingly unable to hold onto leads, squandering advantageous scorelines as they did repeatedly at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Three of Marsch’s first four league victories were won by a stoppage time goal: Joe Gelhardt’s winner against Norwich City at Elland Road was followed by Luke Ayling’s strike at Molineux in March, before Jack Harrison’s 94th minute clincher secured Premier League safety on the final day.

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Leeds’ 3-0 win over Chelsea at the beginning of this season appeared to indicate the Whites had turned a corner, but ultimately this has proven to be a false dawn. The Chelsea fixture aside, Leeds’ match-winning Premier League goals this season have been scored in the 74th, 84th and 89th minutes, leaving little opportunity for their opponent to strike back as Spurs did so effectively.

Leaving it late means Leeds are great value to the neutral observer, but to fans of the club it reflects a worrying trend. United have been leading in games for just 167 minutes this season, one of the lowest figures in the entire division, equating to less than two full matches, or just over 13 per cent of the campaign so far.

The Whites were pegged back after just four minutes having gone in front against AFC Bournemouth a fortnight ago, held a lead for six minutes versus Fulham, threw away their advantage 14 minutes after Pascal Struijk’s opener at Selhurst Park and gifted Southampton a route back into the game from two goals down with a quick-fire Joe Aribo and Kyle Walker-Peters double at the beginning of the season.

It is a trend which has become increasingly apparent in recent weeks, culminating in Saturday’s performance in the capital. While Spurs have made a habit of coming from behind this year, for Leeds to go in front three times, only to lose the game – a first in club history – was worrying, to say the least.

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Leeds players not participating in the 2022 FIFA World Cup currently have a two week break, but upon their return to training at the end of this month, have four weeks to curb the all-too-familiar trend which has crept into recent performances, before welcoming Manchester City to Elland Road.