Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch sees positives despite fifth game without a win

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Head coach Jesse Marsch remained positive about his Leeds United team despite admitting it hurt to come away from traditional bogey ground Selhurst Park with nothing again.

The Whites struck early through Pascal Struijk following brilliant play by Brenden Aaronson and were dominant early, but could not add to their lead and paid the price with Crystal Palace hitting back to win 2-1.

It left Leeds looking at five Premier League games without a win as they look like they are sliding into another relegation battle, but Marsch remains defiant.

He said: “In general, the first half was very good from us.

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Pascal Struijk put Leeds United ahead at Crystal Palace, but they could not hold onto their lead.Pascal Struijk put Leeds United ahead at Crystal Palace, but they could not hold onto their lead.
Pascal Struijk put Leeds United ahead at Crystal Palace, but they could not hold onto their lead.

“It was one of our best halves of football and we were on top of the game.

“The shame was, that we weren’t able to manage the game better to go in at half-time with the lead as I think we should have been two-nil up at least.

"When you go through matches we have had we have had moments where we are on top of things but don’t score enough goals.

“They got a set-piece goal which we take pride in, so we weren’t happy about that and then that allowed them to make adjustments and the game was a little bit in the balance for the second half.

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“They managed to get the goal and we weren’t able to create enough chances, so in the end it hurts because we walk away with nothing.

“I’m really positive about our group, though, we need to keep fighting, progressing and committing to the process and I believe in this team, no doubt.

"In total this is a step in the right direction for me. Of course we have to get results along the way but we are doing OK. We just have to keep pushing."

United swarmed all over the home team in the early stages, winning possession a number of times high up the pitch with a pressing game that Palace did not seem initially to cope with.

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The Whites' approach could be seen as goalkeeper Vicente Guaita struggled to control an overhit back pass and could only give the ball to Jack Harrison who then played in Patrick Bamford, but the striker – maybe rusty after his lack of first team action this year – could not control the ball in the box.

Aaronson scuffed a shot wide from the edge of the box soon after, but Leeds were ahead in the tenth minute after the American's next big involvement.

Aaronson went on a fantastic ruin, showing great control as he beat a number of home defenders on a weaving run into the box. He was only denied a likely goal of the season when his shot hit the post, but the ball rebounded to left-back Struijk whose first time follow-up shot found its way into the net.

It could have been two soon after when Harrison was onto another poor kick out, but the promising attack ended with Bamford's shot being deflected over.

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It was all Leeds at this point as the increasingly impressive Tyler Adams played Bamford through only for the striker's shot to be directed too close to home keeper Guaita.

However, the game changed once Palace scored with their first effort of the match after they won one of their many free-kicks in the game – not all being correctly given by referee Paul Tierney who struggled to work out what a foul was in the face of players going to ground so easily.

Michael Olise's excellent delivery into the box found the head of Odsonne Edouard and his powerful effort beat Illan Meslier to level the game up.

From that point Leeds hardly threatened another goal apart from a Bamford break when he was crudely pulled back by Marc Guehi who was booked for his professional foul when the Whites had a three against two attack on.

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The game became bitty with far too many free-kicks interrupting any flow and it was no surprise that the score stayed 1-1 to half-time.

Where United had generally been the better team in the first half it was Palace the better after the break and while the visitors were hardly holding on they were forced to do far more defending.

Meslier was forced into his first save to deny Wilfried Zaha then Jordan Ayew raced through only for Rasmus Kristensen to get back to make a great block. From the resulting corner, Joachim Andersen had a header saved.

Olise was next to see his effort saved by the much busier Meslier and Edouard headed over.

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Just when it seemed Leeds had survived their bad spell they conceded what turned out to be the winner.

Zaha's flick on the edge of the box created space for Eberechi Eze who easily rounded the diving in Liam Cooper before calmly stroking the ball into the net.

Palace now went for the game management way to get over the line and a frustrating finish to the game saw little worthwhile football played.

Andersen headed over from a corner as the hosts had a half-chance to add to their lead late on and Eze tried to catch out Meslier with a long range free-kick, but the ball went just over.

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United managed little in reply aside from a weak shot in added time by Joe Gelhardt that was easily saved.

On this form with a home game against in-form leaders Arsenal next up for Marsch's men it looks likely there will be more pain to come for Leeds fans before any more gains this season. That flying start to the season looks a long time ago now.

Crystal Palace 2(Edouard 24, Eze 76)

Leeds United 1(Struijk 10)

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Premier League

Palace: Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Schlupp; Doucoure (Mitchell 65); Olise (Hughes 85), Ayew (Milivojevic 65), Eze, Zaha; Edouard (Mateta 86).

Leeds: Meslier; Kristensen (Ayling 84), Koch, Cooper, Struijk; Adams, Roca (Gelhardt 84); Aaronson (Klich 76), Rodrigo, Harrison; Bamford (Summerville 62).

Referee: Paul Tierney