Leeds United secured promotion in dramatic fashion on Sunday, with Jack Harrison’s 94th minute goal confirming their safety in the Premier League. It’s been a tricky season at Elland Road, with some not entirely getting on board with new manager Jesse Marsch after the departure of the iconic Marcelo Bielsa.
Marsch secured 15 points in the 12 games he took over and was able to fulfil his brief, which was keeping Leeds United in the top division. Many, including Marsch, will see it as vindication of his appointment.
Following survival, Marsch had a few things to say about his treatment since arriving in England – not from the Leeds fans but the press. Speaking on US station Sirius XFM, Marsch told them that he felt as if he had been treated differently because of where he comes from, in a story carried by Leeds Live.
“The media in England is so ridiculous. Any one thing the American says they want to just jump on and they want to then ridicule and find holes.”
“Whatever. I don’t care, I’m not changing who I am, I’m going to be the leader that I want to be and work hard with the group I work with and find ways to grow and get better and succeed, that’s what we did.”
“I said from the beginning there’s a lot more horrible things happening in the world than me being ridiculed for my accent or being American. We can call it whatever you want, xenophobia or whatever but it’s a form of prejudice.”
“Some people don’t allow that kind of behaviour to happen and will treat me based on what I am or what our team is, that’s ultimately what it should be. It’s frankly ridiculous that they don’t like to hear an American accent in their sport, in their country, it’s horrible.”
Marsch is the third coach to cross the Atlantic to manage in the Premier League after Bob Bradley and David Wagner, although the latter has stronger links with Germany. During his time with Swansea, Bradley’s US terminology also became a topic of conversation at times. Even so, Marsch was keen to play down any suggestion that it was getting to him.
“But I’m okay with it, I can handle it and there’s nothing happening like that in our team. Actually it’s totally the opposite, we have total belief, commitment, the guys have responded really well to my leadership style, they like the type of football we’re playing.”
Marsch has a tough task this summer, as Leeds look to restructure the squad to his needs following the idiosyncratic style defined by Bielsa. Leeds survival this year will serve as a keen warning that their squad must be strengthened.