'Not buying into that' - Jesse Marsch on Leeds United survival and changing club mentality

Jesse Marsch says he never lost faith in Leeds United's ability to beat the drop and secure 'deserved' Premier League status.

By Graham Smyth
Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 7:13 pm
Updated Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 7:15 pm

The American played a full part in the celebrations on the pitch at Brentford Community Stadium after a 2-1 victory, coupled with Burnley's defeat by Newcastle United, kept the Whites in the top flight.

A Premier League finale was always going to deliver high drama and Leeds' game had it in spades. Raphinha won and converted a second half penalty before Sergi Canos levelled for a Brentford side down to 10 men having lost Kristoffer Ajer to injury with all their substitutions used. Canos was then sent off for a second yellow card and with Burnley striving for an equaliser against Newcastle, Jack Harrison drilled in a 94th-minute winner.

It was survival done the hard way, something Marsch is keen to avoid in future.

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"I've heard this a lot about Leeds United in the community and that we always think we have to do it the hard way," he said.

"Honestly, part of the job of being the manager of this club is to change that mentality to say we deserve more than that. We have an incredible club. We have an incredible team. And honestly I think it's not by accident that we scored four winners or equalisers in injury time. It's because we've had belief and we think we deserve what we've gotten, but we had to earn it.

"So I've heard this as the Leeds way but I'm not buying into that. Not buying into that. I'm only thinking about the potential of what we can make this into."

Events elsewhere were just as important as what happened at Brentford and Marsch was kept fully appraised as the afternoon unfolded, so he could respond accordingly and inform his players of the exact requirements.

LEEDS WAY - Leeds United did Premier League survival the hard way but Jesse Marsch says they deserve what they earned with a win at Brentford. Pic: Tony Johnson

"I said to some of our coaching staff at one point just to watch the match because I didn't need any more help thinking about what to do with our team, I needed to know exactly what was going on," he said.

"And then we tried to communicate that, we tried to get the word out. We wanted to end it and make sure that Burnley can't have a last ditch effort, in what we in Germany call the lucky punch, to find a way to seal our fate."

Belief is what the head coach says he was determined to instill in his players ahead of the survival shootout.

"That's what I talked about, that we couldn't have [disbelief]," he said.

"It's been 11 games. We couldn't have another game where we had a slow start, where we weren't playing at our best from the beginning and where at half-time I had to reorganise tactically exactly what we wanted and then reorganise the mentality of the group and and look around and see a bunch of faces without [belief] and to be fair, we didn't have any of that today.

"We weren't perfect. We could have played better in certain moments but the resolve of the group was really really good."

Although the club's top flight status was hanging in the balance until the 94th minute winner, Marsch insists he has never wavered in his personal belief that the job he arrived to do could be done.

"I believed we were going to do this - there wasn't one day I didn't believe and that's why I never talked about being in the Championship," he said.

"For me this business is about belief and exuding it as a leader. The other part I had as an advantage was the group of players we have. I believed in our resolve and character. Everything we've been through has made us stronger, not weaker. And that's what I think really earned us what we think we deserve."