Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch has ensured his side are aware of his demands heading into their fourth round FA Cup tie against Accrington Stanley.
Speaking to media at his pre-match press conference today [26 January], Marsch told reporters he expected the League One side to provide a stern test.
He also expressed his intent on taking the FA cup seriously as a competition, as he has for all other cup competitions during his career.
“We are very aware of what the tournament means,” Marsch explained (as per the Leeds official club website).
“What it holds in terms if David vs Goliath, and how that can be a very inspiring narrative.
“I want the team to always play with full intensity and never take anything for granted.
“I think with lower division teams that’s maybe the most important thing, that when you step on the pitch you know this will be a very difficult match.
“We have to play to our highest level and go after the game physically, and manage the match, so that will certainly be our emphasis come Saturday.”
A victory at the WHAM Stadium this Saturday [28 January] would see Leeds progress to the FA Cup’s fifth round. They haven’t achieved this feat since the 2015/16 season where they were knocked out by Watford.
It’s extremely uncommon for a manager to show disrespect for the quality of their opposition in a pre-match press conference – but the fact that Marsch is taking the tie seriously is encouraging.
After a resounding 5-2 win at Elland Road in their third round replay, a similar scoreline – and performance – is surely to be expected on Saturday.
As ever though, fixtures such as these do act as a potential banana skin. The “David vs Goliath” scenario alluded to here by Marsch or the “magic of the cup”, in other words.
However you choose to frame it, this is a match where Leeds have absolutely nothing to win and everything to lose.
Whites supporters everywhere will be hoping their side escape the fate of fellow Premier League sides Newcastle, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest – who all found themselves defeated by lesser opposition in the cup’s previous round.
As long as the physicality and effort levels referred to by Marsch are translated onto the pitch, a Leeds victory should be easily secured.
A nice routine win is all we’re asking for here, please.