Leeds United's new manager Jesse Marsch dismisses 'Ted Lasso' caricature of US coaches

American pays tribute to sacked Marcelo Bielsa and says he is willing to stay and fight even if club is relegated from Premier League

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Jesse Marsch has admitted he has to confront the stigma attached to American managers in England as he marked his unveiling at Leeds United by promising to stay even if they get relegated to the Championship.

The 48-year-old has become only the second American to manage in the Premier League after Bob Bradley, who was sacked by Swansea after just 85 days, while there are reports Manchester United players have nicknamed coach Chris Armas ‘Ted Lasso’ after the clueless sitcom character.

But Marsch said he left his homeland because standards in Europe are higher and rejected suggestions he was employed because the San Francisco 49ers have a stake in Leeds as he insisted the Yorkshire city has echoes of his home town.

“That is not the main reason I am here and to say there is an Americanisation of this club would be inaccurate,” he said. “I think there is probably a stigma [about American managers]. I am not sure Ted Lasso helped. I get it. People hate hearing the word ‘soccer’.

"I have used the word ‘football’ since I was a professional football player. I can understand they don’t think we have the experiences that can be created in Europe. Frankly, they are right. It is the reason I came to Europe, the reason I learnt German. This is the fifth country I have coached in. It takes me out of my comfort zone.

“Where I am from, Milwaukee in Wisconsin, reminds me of Leeds. My father worked on the assembly line in a tractor factory for 32 years. Working hard is what I know.”

Marsch marked his arrival by paying tribute to Marcelo Bielsa but insisting he has to do things his way. He has spent his first week at Elland Road abandoning his predecessor’s controversial man-marking system in a bid to improve Leeds’ defensive record after they conceded 20 goals in the Argentinian’s last five games.

Marcelo Bielsa leaves Leeds United

Marsch tried to talk director of football Victor Orta out of sacking Bielsa and revealed that Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick, who took him to Red Bull Salzburg, has sent him a message of good luck.

And he has pledged to stay even if Leeds go down. “[Owner] Andrea [Radrizzani] asked me would I come if at the end of the season they were in the Premier League or in the Championship and I said if I felt the project was right then it didn’t matter,” he added.

“I appreciate that the club was so convinced by me that they were willing to make a long-term commitment. When I considered what my next options were, it wasn’t the biggest opportunity from a financial perspective or the biggest club, it was about finding people. It has been a joy.

“I wanted Marcelo to finish on a high note. I wanted to see Marcelo continue his legacy and keep the team up and I wanted to make that argument with Victor when he called me but I could see the group was suffering.”

Marsch had an ill-fated spell at RB Leipzig after Julian Nagelsmann left and he said: “I followed living legends everywhere I have been. Marcelo changed the mentality of the club and the team. I understand the things he did well, but also that I don’t have to be Marcelo Bielsa.

“Clearly the adjustment of tactics is No 1, getting away from the man-marking, trying to create tactics that don’t expose us on transition as much,” he explained. “It is not just saying we need to defend better, that is clear, it is saying what the tactics are. It won’t be one player to follow another, it will be how we shift as a group.”

Updated: March 03, 2022, 3:41 PM
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