Sports

Marsch out to change perceptions as he plots Leeds escape

LONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 4 Jesse Marsch has admitted there is a stigma about Americans managing in English football after taking the reins at Premier League strugglers Leeds United.

The 48-year-old former RB Leipzig boss has arrived at Elland Road with Leeds just two points above the relegation zone after the club sacked veteran Argentine manager Marcelo Bielsa, who was popular with the fans.

Marsch knows he has work to do to win over the Leeds’ supporters, starting with his use of language.

“Yes I think there probably is a stigma,” he said on Thursday. “People hate hearing the word ‘soccer’.”

“I’ve used the word ‘football’ since I was a professional football player,” the former USA midfielder added.

“I think more and more in the States we’re adapting to what the game here is in England and our connection with what this league is and what the culture of the sport is in this country.”

Marsch began his career in management as assistant coach of the USA team under Bob Bradley.

Bradley’s short-lived spell in English football at Swansea in 2016 did little to alter negative perceptions about American managers.

Marsch, however, does have a coaching reputation built in the European game, guiding Red Bull Salzburg to successive Austrian league and cup doubles before a brief stint at Leipzig.

The American has 12 games to keep Leeds in English football’s top flight, starting with Saturday’s match at Leicester.

The Yorkshire club have lost five of their past six games, with the 20 goals they conceded in February a new record for single month in the Premier League.

“I understand what a big job it is and how important it is to the fans and the community here,” said Marsch.”I’ve followed football history for years. I’m very aware of what this is.”

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