Jon Newsome has told BBC Radio Leeds that he could not understand why Jesse Marsch switched to five at the back after Leeds United went 3-2 up at Tottenham on Saturday.
Leeds ended the opening stage of the campaign with a bit of a sickener in North London. We led three times against Antonio Conte’s side. And it seemed that we may be about to make it three league wins on the bounce.
Rodrigo put Leeds 3-2 up with 14 minutes of normal time remaining.
Marsch coming in for criticism after five at the back switch
Marsch made a change shortly after the goal, replacing Marc Roca with Luke Ayling. The change saw Leeds move to five at the back, with Roca leaving a void in the middle of the park.
Unfortunately from there, the wheels came off. Tottenham scored twice to turn the game around. And Tyler Adams was subsequently sent off for a second yellow card.
With that, Marsch’s decision to make the change has come under scrutiny. And Newsome admitted that he cannot explain why the Leeds boss decided to make that switch when the game was there for the taking.
“It’s difficult to defend that, difficult to go against that. We got a really good vantage point, you could see the angles, you could see how the game was playing out,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.
“I personally didn’t understand why you go to a back five when they’ve only got Kane up there who keeps dropping into the midfield. They were hurting us in the middle of the park.
“They were winning more second balls, they were passing the ball around us, they were picking us off, they were keeping possession in the middle of the park. And effectively, we’ve taken a man out of the middle of the park to put one into the back defensive line and make it a five.”
Defensive frailty a real concern once again
Marsch’s substitutions have been an issue for much of the season.
In fairness, his changes helped Leeds turn the game around against Bournemouth. However, there have been times when he appears to have hurt the team.
Unfortunately, Leeds’ defence has been extremely poor of late. Our last clean sheet came against Aston Villa at the start of October. And we have conceded 11 goals in our last four Premier League games.
Switching to five at the back invited further pressure. And Leeds have simply not been good enough at dealing with that pressure in recent weeks.
Certainly, you would imagine that working with the backline is going to be one of Marsch’s main priorities during the upcoming break.