Jesse Marsch responds as pressure builds on Leeds United boss

With the bottom three looking to be beckoning in the next week Jesse Marsch must be on borrowed time as Leeds United boss unless he can find a way quickly to change his side's fortunes.
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Without a league win since before the World Cup, the Whites' latest failure saw them lose 1-0 to relegation rivals Nottingham Forest despite totally dominating the first half.

It has been a familiar story in recent weeks and Leeds' football has been far better than the results they have picked up, but their lack of clinical finishing and inability to keep a clean sheet has badly hampered progress.

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And while they have not had any luck how much longer the hierarchy can stay patient with Marsch remains to be seen especially as he has been backed probably better than any manager at Elland Road since David O'Leary with plenty of signings.

Luis Sinisterra went closest to scoring for Leeds United at Nottingham Forest with three efforts, two of which were saved.Luis Sinisterra went closest to scoring for Leeds United at Nottingham Forest with three efforts, two of which were saved.
Luis Sinisterra went closest to scoring for Leeds United at Nottingham Forest with three efforts, two of which were saved.

Of course, things can change with two games in the next week, but with both against Manchester United there can be little confidence in a quick turnaround.

Again there were rumblings among the supporters at Forest and some shouts for Marsch to be sacked, but that noise will certainly get louder if he cannot manufacture a positive result against the fans most hated team.

The Whites boss understands the frustration of supporters and took some responsibility for the latest setback.

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He said: “It's my responsibility, and I understand their frustration and I accept it and I have to find a way to turn a lot of the good things that are happening into results, or we find ourselves in a stressful situation.

"I understand the doubts. Internally we have belief here. We do. The players are all in. They've giving everything they have.

"It's just we're young and we're still trying to put it all together. But I have to find a way right now to make sure that come Wednesday we're ready for a big result.”

On the Forest game, Marsch added: “I would say we had a really good start to the match, created some chances and a really good first half where we limited them almost entirely.

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"I think with our desire to try to get back in the match we lost a little bit of our discipline and then we didn't have the effect that we wanted to have in the second half and the guys off the bench I don't think were able to bring enough into the match.

"I have to find a way to turn good performances into winning, because that's exactly where we are and where we've been for a little while. And that's the last step for the potential of what we need to build here.

“We have the energy and the work is good, it's just how to make sure that it leads up to more results.

"That's exactly where we're at and I have to figure that out. That has to happen Wednesday.”

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Leeds made their usual strong start and could have been in front inside two minutes with Luis Sinisterra doing well to latch on a bouncing ball in the box only to see his shot well saved by Forest's new keeper Keilor Navas.

But from the home team's first attack they went in front. A free-kick given away by Pascal Struijk was not cleared by the same player and Brennan Johnson fired a well struck volley past Illan Meslier from just outside the box.

It summed up Leeds' wretched recent Premier League luck that replays showed that in the build-up to the free-kick there had been an offside. With no flag raised there was nothing VAR could do about it and the goal stood with the Whites yet again left cursing more poor officiating.

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The goal did not spark a Forest onslaught as they struggled to string any passes together. It took United a while, however, to get over the hangover of conceding, but on the half-hour they should have gone in front when Willy Gnonto got on the end of a great long ball by Luke Ayling and squared the ball for Sinisterra, who somehow fired over from six yards out.

Ayling was found in space from another Gnonto low ball into the box, but saw his shot well saved by Navas.

The home keeper came to his side's rescue again when saving from Gnonto who got free in the area.

After his excellent display a week earlier, Patrick Bamford was out of sorts and it summed up his day when he was sent through by Sinisterra, but produced a heavy first touch and the opportunity was wasted.

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Forest showed a bit more intent at the start of the second half as Morgan Gibbs-White was left unmarked in the box, but could only send his header straight to Meslier.

Sinisterra had a chance with a header at the other end only for his effort to be easily saved by Navas.

Neco WIlliams threatened for the hosts when latching onto a through ball, but sent his shot over.

The good football gradually faded with spoiling tactics coming in and Leeds completely losing their way despite having plenty of possession. None of the substitutes made any impact, include record signing Georginio Rutter, who looked a bit lost in the lone striker role.

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Sam Surridge sent a shot over for Forest and Crysencio Summerville was also off target with an injury-time strike from distance and that was it - a frustrating day all round.

Nottingham Forest 1

(Johnson 14)

Sunday. February 5, 2023

Premier League

Attendance: 29,363

Forest: Navas (GK); Williams (Ayew 90), Boly, McKenna, Lodi; Freuler, Danilo (Colback 45), Mangala (Aurier 45); Gibbs-White, Johnson; Wood (Surridge 72).

Leeds: Meslier; Ayling, Cooper, Wober, Struijk (Firpo 67); Adams, Roca (McKennie 57); Sinisterra (Summerville 57’), Gnonto, Harrison (Greenwood 83); Bamford (Rutter 67).

Referee: Robert Jones