Despite all the bonhomie and talk, the only thing that matters in the cold light of day are the deeds of him and his team and not the words. The hard currency of the points – however they come – is the only thing that matters and not the stacking and the equivalent of hot air with the best will in the world.
That’s what this time of year does to football fans when the daffodils come out and the league table can look cold and brooding.
He certainly does in Leeds after his last miserable offer; another brutal blow in a season of body shots after a 3-0 loss to Villa.
A head coach’s name was called, namely that of Marcelo Bielsa shortly after Aston Villa killed the game with a third goal through Calum Chambers in the fourth quarter as Leeds fell to pieces.
The anger of the fans has been directed to the directors’ box and there is great concern and anger, exacerbated by a sixth consecutive defeat for Leeds for the first time in almost seven years.
That will become a serious worry and toxicity three games into Marsch’s plan if the Whites don’t beat Norwich City on Sunday. Defeat is simply unthinkable.
United have already had their fair share of crucial games this season. But they look relatively tame and a dress rehearsal compared to Sunday.
The conversation had been about Marsch fixing problem areas and toughening up Leeds. Defensively, Leicester were a step in the right direction, but here Leeds were atrocious, with the first and second goals courtesy of lousy defending showing why they are where they are. In serious trouble near the bottom.
The second, finished off by Matty Cash from a Danny Ings cross, came after a bad mistake by the hapless Junior Firpo. Marsch looked disconsolately at the ground.
It was a night that ended with Firpo being injured on a stretcher. It was that kind of night.
Going forward, there were also major issues where Leeds looked toothless. Even taking into account the return to the fray of Patrick Bamford, who came off the bench to make his first appearance in just over three months. There was no fairy tale and the hundredth career goal from him.
Leeds trailed 1-0 at half-time, and it could have been worse, with the home crowd’s upset clear and understandable.
In his Elland Road arc, Marsch had a major test of his mettle in the process as he quest to tackle things quickly in his second halftime team talk.
Much attention had been focused beforehand on Leeds dealing with Philippe Coutinho, a world-class talent operating for the Midlands club and a player capable of causing serious damage if left unchecked.
Reprehensibly, he was left unprotected for Villa’s first game.
It started when Stuart Dallas made a poor call down the left after a clever play by Ings and Lucas Digne.
Digne’s center missed Ollie Watkins for a mustache in front of goal and a huge panic ensued when Cash cut the ball into the box.
Dallas’ error was significantly compounded. Leeds saw the ball and released Coutinho, of all the players.
His low shot took a lucky deflection from Pascal Struijk and beat Illan Meslier and although that was unfortunate, Leeds had his throat slashed.
Leeds’ start was fine with Tyrone Mings taking a merciless stick from the home fans, looking flustered. It was a false illusion. Villa settled down and took over and the discomfort became palpable among the white supporters who had little to eat.
An error in possession by Meslier almost gave Watkins a second with the United goalkeeper deflecting a Douglas Luiz free kick.
A loose pass from Rodrigo then summed up their casual half below standard. John McGinn’s shot went wide of the post, but Meslier saved the day in the final action of the half which ended with boos from the Leeds crowd.
A bewildered Marsch struck up a conversation with Joe Gelhardt before the break, as Rodrigo paid the price, and left for the second half, while Leeds had the onus to respond and Marsch cheered his players on with his interval talk.
The first signs were promising. James nearly made it to the end of Raphinha’s cross and Mings, looking touchy, earned a booking and the home crowd accepted as Leeds became more urgent and threatening.
Villa weathered the mini-storm and Marsch’s next card was to call Bamford.
The visitors waited for the break, with McGinn firing at Meslier. The harvest came when Leeds imploded.
First, Cash pushed the ball home before a third came when a free kick was not cleared and Mings set up Calum Chambers to curl home a beauty and seal an ugly night for Leeds.
Leeds United: Messier; Dallas, Ayling, Struijk, Firpo; Forshaw (Klich 67), Koch; Raphinha, Rodrigo (Gelhardt 45), Harrison (Bamford 58); James. Unused substitutes: Klaesson, Llorente, Cresswell, Summerville, Greenwood, Shackleton.
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This notice was published: 2022-03-10 22:25:21