Where Did It Go Wrong For Jesse Marsch At Leeds United?

Leeds United are moving on to their third manager in less than a year. Jesse Marsch’s reign at Elland Road lasted less than a full Premier League campaign, with his 37 games yielding just 11 wins.

The American was appointed following Marcelo Bielsa’s sacking in February 2022 and successfully guided Leeds to safety on the final day of the 2021/22 campaign. But, with the side only above the relegation zone on goal difference, the ex-Leipzig and Salzburg manager was relieved of his duties following a 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest. 

Join us at SinkorSwimSports as we analyze where it all went wrong for Jesse Marsch at Leeds United. 

Jesse Marsch Leeds Record

Played

W / D / L

For / Against

Difference

Win %

37

11 / 10 / 16

52 / 60

-8

29.73

Where Did It Go Wrong For Marsch?

Much like David Moyes or Unai Emery found at Man United and Arsenal, following in the footsteps of a deified manager is no easy feat. For some Leeds fans, things began to wrong for Jesse Marsch the second he walked into Elland Road as ‘not Marcelo Bielsa’. 

Even though Leeds were on a free-falling course towards relegation under Bielsa, the Argentine still enjoyed (and still enjoys) a legendary status that made it hard for some fans to accept a new man at the helm.

Ensuring survival on the final day of the season meant Marsch earned a shot at steering the club in 2022/23, however, some fans remained sceptical about the prospect of an American coach managing in England’s top flight. 

Arguably Leeds’ two best players in Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips left the club in the summer, moving to Barcelona and Man City respectively. With that being said, the arrivals of Tyler Adams, Marc Roca, Rasmus Kristensen, Brenden Aaronson, Luis Sinisterra and Wilfried Gnonto as reinvestments was a sign the club were looking to back their man. 

The consensus amongst most pundits was that Leeds’ squad actually looked stronger heading into the 2022/23 season. 

The problem for the club was Marsch’s insistence on a very specific style of play failed to produce consistent results. It sounds self-explanatory, but the American has a very distinct way of talking that made it hard for players and fans to see what the long-term plan was.

And whilst the signings in the summer did help make the squad look stronger overall, the lack of competition for Junior Firpo, one of the most underperforming players in the side this season, at left-back was made to look like one of the club’s short-sighted moves. Couple this with injuries to Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw and Patrick Bamford, and Marsch had his fair share of squad frustrations during his time in charge. 

Jesse Marsch Leeds United
Jesse Marsch left with Leeds in 17th

What Could Have Been?

Despite where things have ended up for Marsch, there were some high points that indicated what could have been for the American. 

A 3-0 win over Chelsea in August was probably the best performance under Marsch, whilst a dramatic last-minute winner at Anfield came on the night most expected to be his last in the job. The crowd had turned on him during the team’s performances against Leicester and Fulham, and all reports had pointed to the board also losing confidence. 

The win against Liverpool and a follow-victory against Bournemouth gave Marsch the time to implement his philosophy over the World Cup break. However, this might have been a case of the break coming at the wrong time because all the momentum the side might have had was gone when they came back.

But, just three points from 18 following the World Cup has left the team firmly in a relegation scrap. 

Record signing in Georginio Rutter, Austria defender Max Wober and Weston McKennie all joined Leeds during the January transfer window, however, confidence over Marsch’s ability to coach the team to its full potential had evaporated.

Ultimately, Leeds cannot afford to be relegated. It had taken the club sixteen years to find its way back to the top flight, and the pending takeover by minority shareholders San Francisco 49ers Enterprises from majority shareholder Andrea Radrizzani was put at risk by the prospect of another relegation.

Following the team’s 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest, Jesse Marsch took training for the last time at the club’s Thorp Arch Academy. He was told in person that he had been relieved of his duties by Chief executive Angus Kinnear and director of football Victor Orta.

What do you make of the decision to dismiss Jesse Marsch? Should the American have been given more time, and will Leeds be able to stay up this season? Let us know your thoughts!