Leeds United midfielder Tyler Adams is “impressed” with the tactical tweaks Javi Gracia has made since replacing Jesse Marsch as the club’s manager.
Upon his appointment, Gracia was described by many familiar with him as a pragmatist. For many Leeds supporters, this adaptability was a quality sorely lacking in Marsch’s footballing style.
It was frustrating to see the same defensive frailties being exploited by opponents repeatedly. And the lack of width in the American’s narrow system often meant the same frustrations existed going forward.
The Whites’ performance against bottom of the table Southampton over the weekend – through which they secured a vital 1-0 win to pull them out of the relegation zone – showed signs of promise. Most notable was Leeds’ use of width, as well as the increased composure they had in possession.
This was backed up by another solid display against Fulham in the FA Cup on Tuesday. Despite being ejected from the competition after losing 2-0 – courtesy of two wonder strikes – there was much to admire in the Whites’ performance.
Tyler Adams “impressed” by new man Javi Gracia
Now, Adams has pointed to the importance of new manager Gracia in generating these improved displays. For the 24-year-old American international, Gracia’s emphasis on increased composure when on the ball is critical.
“He’s impressed me a lot. When he first came in, we didn’t have a lot of time to execute a perfect game plan for Southampton but what he did is focus on key bullet points, or key details that we need to improve,” Adams said, speaking to BBC Radio Leeds.
“One of those things was with the ball. How can we break teams down more efficiently in possession whether from goal kicks or when we get into the attacking third. Not just going to the goal straight away.
“Leeds are notorious for winning the ball back quickly and going straight to the goal. But not every time we win the ball, do we need to play the first pass forward that we see.
“Maybe we can keep the ball for two, three passes, switch the ball from side to side and start to tire the opponent. You saw that a little bit more against Southampton.
“He offers more of a balanced approach to the way that we’re going to play. It’s not just all out pressing, or all out possession, but of a balance.”