Jesse Marsch stresses respect for Marcelo Bielsa after ‘over-training’ comment

Leeds’ American manager has set the record straight regarding his recent comment about his predecessor.

Jesse Marsch, pictured, replaced Marcelo Bielsa as Leeds head coach at the end of February (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Mark Walker, PA Sport

Jesse Marsch insists he has “major respect” for Marcelo Bielsa after comments the American made in a recent radio interview.

Bielsa was controversially sacked by Leeds at the end of February after a poor run of results and replaced by Marsch, who was tasked with keeping the club in the Premier League.

During an interview on talkSPORT last week, Marsch said Leeds’ players had been over-trained under Bielsa and that had led to a debilitating injury list which has undermined their season.

Some Leeds fans claimed those comments were disrespectful of Bielsa and Marsch wanted to set the record straight at a media conference before Monday’s Premier League game at Crystal Palace.

Unprompted, Marsch said: “I haven’t spoken at all since the comments I made on talkSPORT about overtraining and Marcelo and listen, I want to say this was not intentional to attack Marcelo in any way.

“It was a little bit careless and I can see how it was interpreted in some ways.

“But it was more about the state of the player pool and what I had observed in trying to take the team forward.

“I think you would be hard-pressed to find an incoming coach that has spoken more positively about the person he replaced (than) the way I have spoken about Marcelo. It’s because I have major respect for him.

“I haven’t said anything about what I said after that and I’ve seen a little bit of the response, but I want to make sure that the respect for Marcelo is of a very high level from me and from everyone here.”

Leeds have struggled without several key players for long periods in their second season back in the top flight.

Patrick Bamford is still struggling with a foot problem, while Kalvin Phillips and skipper Liam Cooper have only recently returned from long-term hamstring injuries.

Marsch had said in his talkSPORT interview: “The injury issue, for me, had a lot to do with the training methodology.

“These players were over-trained and it led to them being physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically in a difficult place to recover from week to week, game to game.

“You could see it in their faces. You could see in the 15th minute that some of them were already at the max – and that shouldn’t be the case.”

Despite taking 10 points from a possible 12 in their last four matches, Leeds remain under pressure heading into Monday’s trip to Selhurst Park.

They sit five points above the relegation zone with six games to play and Marsch added: “The only thing for us to do is to just focus on us and making sure that we have a performance that gives us a chance to get the three points.

“I mean, it depends on every result really, so I don’t really care about anyone else.”

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