The pre-Wolves Jesse Marsch press conference saw discussion around his squad, hopes for the season and plans for the Leeds United match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, August 6. Read on to find out more about his thoughts on the transfer window to date, the direction of the club and what he expects from Wolves in the Yorkshire side’s Premier League opener. You can see all of the footage from the press conference here.
What the Jesse Marsch Press Conference Told Us
💬 𝗝𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝗪𝗼𝗹𝘃𝗲𝘀: "A big challenge, but one we're excited for. They have an incredible player pool, fit together, defend really well and can unbalance you with the way they move the ball." pic.twitter.com/y63QHoBKZa
— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 4, 2022
On Player Availability
Before the first question of the conference, Marsch made a short statement. He said: “Dan James is suspended for one more match, he’ll play 90 minutes in the U21s match. Liam Cooper has an injury from running on a treadmill and will not be available. Junior Firpo had a scan and is ahead of schedule, but is probably two or three weeks away.”
Of all of the club’s injuries, these were the few players that the side were hoping for a return of. Cooper’s injury, although mild, means that the Whites start the season with neither their captain, Liam Cooper, nor the injured Luke Ayling. This risks a lack of leadership in the team, as Leeds are likely to see a lot of new faces and not much experience starting against Wolves.
In other injuries, Marsch told reporters that Adam Forshaw is looking to train next week, exciting Colombian winger Luis Sinisterra was training on the pitch today and youngster Mateusz Bogusz is currently recovering well. Stuart Dallas has had a few checkups, but his long-term injury is likely to keep him out for a few more months.
On Patrick Bamford and Joe Gelhardt
The American manager had plenty to say on the recovering Patrick Bamford. Marsch said: “He looks fit, he looks strong, he looks sharp. The good thing with having Patrick closer to 100% is we’ve been able to talk through what we want him to play like.” Extremely limited minutes last season meant that Bamford was only able to score twice, a likely addition to Leeds United’s close brush with relegation.
It won’t all be plain sailing for the England international, as wonderkid Joe Gelhardt is hot on his tail. After overseeing a new contract for the youngster, Marsch said: “The more he pushes himself and takes advantage of every minute he has on the pitch, he will get more minutes and be rewarded. That’s where you talk about healthy competition and guys pushing each other.” As the two goalscorers compete for minutes, Marsch doesn’t envision a new forward joining the club, stating that: “We’ve done a good job with the guys we’ve got in right now.”
Marsch is happy with the way he is receiving backing from the club. He said: “I think if you were here to see the work done here every day, I’ve never felt so supported in my life. We know we lost two great players, but that’s allowed us to bring in six, seven or eight players that help us to play the type of football we want to play”. The loss of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha would have an impact on any club, but Leeds’ manager sees plenty of potential amongst the club’s newest signings.
One of the few areas where the door remains open for an incoming player is in goal. The manager stated that: “There’s an argument for an established backup. The key is to get the right kind of person, our goalkeeper coach has created a good environment for our goalkeepers… we’re close to making a decision on that”.
The Whites’ use of young goalkeepers since their return to the Premier League is evident, but Marsch’s philosophy around young players could differ from Bielsa’s to the extent that an older goalkeeper may come in this summer as a mentor and backup.
On The Season Ahead
The Leeds United manager, quite tellingly, said: “We want to finish better than we did last year. The key is to have a good start. Our strongest lineup is stronger than our strongest lineup was last season.”
For a fanbase with worries about another relegation battle, loyal Whites can be safe in the knowledge that even if they are not confident, their manager is. There’s a long season ahead, and the American sees Leeds United as well-equipped for the impending challenges.