'Read into it' - Gary Lineker debunks Jesse Marsch excuse with revealing Leeds United stat
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Though not immaculate, the Whites’ pre-Brighton record was impressive and the trip to the south coast brought something of a reality check to the Elland Road faithful – but Jesse Marsch’s men had the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways with a home fixture against Frank Lampard’s winless Toffees.
After narrowly escaping the drop last term, Everton have not made a resurgent start to the 2022/2023 season and sit below Bournemouth, who have just sacked manager Scott Parker for their slow start to the campaign.
Lampard has less ‘credit in the bank’ than Parker, who led the Cherries to promotion last term, and braced for a ‘tough’ midweek contest at Elland Road, might have felt that avoiding defeat against their former relegation rivals was as good a result as he could hope for.
After taking the lead through rising star Anthony Gordon, the Blues made efforts to slow the game down, with no consequences from referee Graham Scott. The game management tactic didn’t prevent Luis Sinisterra levelling the scores – but they definitely wound up Whites boss Jesse Marsch.
"Yeah that was terrible,” Marsch told BT Sport after the game ended 1-1.
"It is classic. For me, you can see when the players of Everton are kicking the ball away in the first minute of the game -it is clear they want to take the energy out of Elland Road.
"This is an entertainment business and I wish the referee had handled that bit a little better. After it was 1-1 it became entertaining, but it was too late. The referee had the chance to affect the game and did not take advantage of that.”
United midfielder Tyler Adams shared his manager’s irritation: "It’s a little bit frustrating in the first half, when they’re already trying to kill time, especially when we want to play a high tempo game.”
However, in Wednesday night’s Match of the Day programme, host Gary Lineker revealed that Leeds’ complaints are not as valid as Marsch made them out to be.
"Well, Jesse, we’ve got a little graphic for you which shows that the most minutes in play this game – more than any other game this season,” Lineker said.
“Read into it what you will.”
At Elland Road on Tuesday, with the ball in play for 56 minutes and 19 seconds, Marsch’s players had more time to find a winner than they have had in any other league fixture so far.
The smallest time available for United to claim the result they craved was against Chelsea, when the ball was in play for less than 48 minutes.