Simon Walton has told BBC Radio Leeds that he found the substitutions made by Jesse Marsch during Leeds United’s defeat to Manchester City a little strange, suggesting that they came too late in the game.
It is hard to know how to feel about Wednesday’s loss. The Whites were beaten 3-1 by the champions at Elland Road. And there were some extremely promising signs.
The likes of Willy Gnonto and Sam Greenwood were superb. Illan Meslier also produced a colossal effort to keep City at bay for as long as he did. But there were some worrying signs.
Marsch criticised over substitutions in Leeds loss
Some of the defending was, once again, calamitous. And City were ultimately able to punish Leeds, scoring either side of the break to go 2-0 up after 51 minutes.
Nevertheless, Marsch waited another 14 minutes to make any changes. And by that stage, City had scored another. Perhaps surprisingly, the substitutions involved Luke Ayling and Mateusz Klich coming on for Rasmus Kristensen and Adam Forshaw.
Joe Gelhardt did come on. Meanwhile, Diego Llorente and Darko Gyabi were also involved. Clearly, Jack Harrison and Crysencio Summerville were not ready to feature – despite taking their places on the bench.
The changes did not do a great deal to the flow of the game. And Walton suggested that he was a little bit confused by Marsch’s thinking when it came to the changes.
“We said it was crying out for a change, just to inject a little bit of energy, a little bit of forward thrust, a little bit of pace, a little bit more directness and dynamism to get us up the pitch. It just came too late,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.
“And listen, I don’t want to say it, but I think some of the substitutions after that just became a bit damage limitation, in terms of giving people minutes, not giving people minutes. He’ll have his reasons I’m sure, but his substitutions, one came too late. And then a few of them I found a little bit strange.”
Everyone wants Marsch to be a success at Leeds. He is clearly a brilliant bloke. And the players obviously like playing for him. However, there are big question marks over whether he is the right man to take the side forward.
Some of the defensive mistakes are extremely worrying. And criticism of his substitutions is not new. That goes all the way back to the second weekend of the season when everyone except Marsch could see Southampton fighting back from 2-0 down.
There does not seem to be an idea on how to change the game when things are not going to plan.
Of course, a 3-1 loss to Manchester City is not a disaster by any means. But some of the issues emerged against other sides also.
And that, with the relegation picture so open, is a real worry.