I interviewed Jesse Marsch at Elland Road on his first day as head coach. On that day back in February, he talked about taking the stress out of the situation and focusing on one game at a time.
His remit was to keep Leeds United in the Premier League, and to his credit he achieved that goal and stabilised the club after the departure of Marcelo Bielsa. But he now finds himself once again in a stressful situation, and Leeds are back in a relegation scrap.
There is a growing feeling among supporters that Leeds should look to replace him and appoint a new head coach. But having proved he was the right man to keep the club up last season, does he deserve the time to show he can steer Leeds clear of the relegation zone once again?
After a bright start to the campaign Leeds have now gone eight games without a win, and next up face a trip to Anfield to play Liverpool. The mood around the club has changed and there have been question marks over tactics and team selection.
Marsch is fighting for his future, but he’s always talked about the long-term project and believes he can elevate the club to the next level. If he is to get the time to deliver that vision, he undoubtedly needs results.
The last two have been bitterly disappointing. But prior to that it shouldn’t be forgotten that Leeds played exceptionally well against the league leaders Arsenal, and they also showed glimpses of their true potential in the win against Chelsea. They converted their chances in that 3-0 win over Chelsea, but against Arsenal they missed a penalty and several big chances and the failure to put key opportunities away has been a feature of the season.
Many fans will blame recruitment and the failure to sign a proven striker in the summer for that. And that argument has been fuelled by concerns over the form and fitness of Patrick Bamford, who is yet to score a Premier League goal this season.
While Leeds made some good signings in the summer, the squad is still light in some key positions, and that will need to be addressed in January. Most fans would agree that the squad needs strengthening, and it could be argued that Marsch deserves to be cut some slack until those signings are in place.
There are only three Premier League games until the World Cup break and if he can get through those games and pick up some points then it will give everyone breathing space. But if Leeds fail to pick up any points then they could be in a perilous position.
My feeling is that the hierarchy at Leeds would like to give Marsch the opportunity to turn things around. In fact, the Leeds head coach said after the Fulham defeat on Sunday “the board and I are unified.”
But decisions are made based on results and Marsch knows that.
His focus now has to be on quickly finding solutions to the problems that Leeds have. If he can do that, he could still get the opportunity to deliver his long-term vision for the future of the club.
Leeds are back in Premier League action on Saturday when they travel to Liverpool, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 7.45pm.