Jesse Marsch insists Leeds do not have a discipline problem – despite their two red cards for reckless challenges in their last two games.
Luke Ayling and Dan James were dismissed for dangerous tackles and are suspended for Leeds’ remaining games, leaving them short of bodies as they fight for Premier League survival. Leeds have also become the first club in Premier League history to accumulate 100 red and yellow cards in a single season.
Marsch has tried to defend his players, claiming they are committed rather than dirty. When asked if he still had control of the dressing room the Leeds head coach said: “Yeah. It’s not am I in control? It’s are we united and we are totally unified?
“The yellow cards and fouls are not reflective of a lack of discipline, they reflect a desire on the pitch.
“Of course, the two red cards, we know they crossed the line and that hurt us. Ultimately we don’t want that. But we want to be aggressive and we want to go after the opponent.”
Marsch, who ironically uses quotes from pacifists like Gandhi and Mother Teresa to inspire his players, admits he has analysed his team talks to see if he has been whipping them up too much.
He does not believe he has and says he is always calm in the dressing room.
“I asked that internally with the coaching staff,” he said. “We asked whether we’re over-motivating them, but even the last team talk I gave before the Chelsea match was calm.
“My message from the beginning has been to stay calm and focussed and we’ve continued with that.
“Obviously we’ve got a team here that’s aggressive, especially at home, and one that wants to show and perform for their fans.
“But we’re aware of the fact that the two red cards killed us in the last two matches and we can’t have that again.
“The discipline in these moments is important and we want to be aggressive, but not over-zealous.
“We know the best way to give ourselves a chance of winning is to not jeopardise the state of the match by picking up red cards, especially in the first half.”
Leeds remain in the bottom three ahead of Sunday’s final home match against Brighton and are in a real rut after losing their last three games.
Marsch revealed chairman Andrea Radrizzani and some of the rest of the board visited the players at their Thorp Arch training ground on Thursday to rally them.
He claims everyone at the club is united as they bid to avoid dropping back down to the Championship after working so hard since 2017 to make it to the top flight.
“We had the ownership speak to the players and they were all totally unified, and that’s the part I love about being here,” said Marsch.
“They just tried to say we have everything within our grasp and spoke about our ability to recover and go again.
“There was a lot of talk about belief. A lot of things they said fit with things I’ve said already to the team so that also lets you know there’s real alignment here.”