Goals looked a tall order on Monday night for Leeds United, but the resistance Crystal Palace met at the other end has been stressed by Jesse Marsch. The Whites still have work to do on snapping out of Marcelo Bielsa’s man-marking system, but the improvements in staying compact are there to see.
Leeds conceded 20 goals across the final five matches of Bielsa’s reign and it’s clear what Marsch’a big objective was when he came into the club. The team was wide open and being cut to ribbons by the man-marking system employed.
Barring the collapse at home to Aston Villa, only Wolverhampton Wanderers have put more than one past Leeds in any game under Marsch. After waiting more than four months for a clean sheet, Marsch has overseen two on the bounce.
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“Having Kalvin [Phillips] back can help us,” he said. “Having his first game back and playing in the new system from the start, he’ll understand his role and movements and ideas more and more.
“He can be a big part in our solutions in the build-up phase that can lead us and get our attacking players into more dangerous spots. What I will be focussing on is the positives.
“We certainly have more work to do and there’s some moments when we’re man-marking phases and trying to break out of that more and more. We’re asking the team to be more compact and that’s one of the reasons we’re not giving up so many chances and so many goals.
“It’s because we’re not spread out all over the pitch and allowing the opponent to win balls and attack us straight down the middle. We’re more compact so when we play we can create options, but when we lose it we can create some pressure.”