Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell has claimed that Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch is doing a “brilliant job” in charge of the Yorkshire club, and that the Whites looked “dead and buried” before he assumed control last season.
Campbell’s comments came in an exclusive interview with Football Insider [17th November], in which he also stressed the importance of continued support for Marsch, particularly in the transfer market.
The ex-Arsenal man spoke after Leeds have won two of their last three fixtures, including dramatic victories against Liverpool and Bournemouth. These results brought to an end a woeful run of form which saw the Whites go eight games without a win from mid-August to the end of October.
Leeds now sit two points above the relegation zone in 15th place ahead of the lengthy World Cup break, yet face a difficult reintroduction to Premier League football as they play defending league champions Manchester City in their first game back on the 28th December.
Despite this relatively patchy form which leaves a significant number of people still doubting Marsch’s managerial viability for the longer term, Campbell insists that he remains the man for the job yet this statement was not without its caveats.
“I think he’s still got to get the balance right”, Campbell said.
“But it’s exciting. The win against Bournemouth, the win at Anfield – and ultimately the game against Tottenham, even though they ended up losing.
“They’re conceding far too many goals, but they’re scoring a load too.
“I think they should stick with him. If they do it will be a real ride for the Leeds United fans, but it will be a good spectacle.
“A lot of people might look at Jesse Marsch and say he hasn’t done a good job. I think he’s done a brilliant job.
“When he came in, they looked dead and buried – and they haven’t spent a fortune. He needs a couple of transfer windows.”
Issues to address
As Campbell suggests, the style of football Jesse Marsch plays is incredibly “exciting” (as any Leeds fan, or neutral, who has watched the Whites’ last three games will tell you) but it does raise questions.
At what point does excitement and spectacle need to be sacrificed in order to secure Premier League safety? And more importantly, is approaching games in such a manner sustainable?
Marsch’s side no longer look toothless in attack but, as the disappointing result against Tottenham last weekend epitomised, they often look hapless and disorganised in defence. As Campbell states, it is of critical importance that offensive capability is finely counterbalanced with defensive solidity.
Luckily for Marsch he now has a lengthy period of time over the World Cup to work on tightening up this leaky Leeds defence. If he succeeds Whites supporters may begin seeing his footballing philosophy as more sustainable, or at the very least, their next trip to Elland Road in December may be much better for their cardiac health.