Marsch says Rodrigo mistake was not reason for his substitution
Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images

Marsch says Rodrigo mistake was not reason for his substitution

Jesse Marsch has told his pre-match press conference that Rodrigo did not come off during Leeds United’s clash against Arsenal due to his mistake in the first-half, and insisted that he has been the Whites’ most dangerous player so far this season.

Rodrigo came in for a lot of criticism on Sunday. Leeds produced a superb performance against the Premier League leaders. On another day, they could have won.

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Unfortunately, the key moment in the game – from a goals perspective – came when Rodrigo bizarrely decided to switch the play inside his own half.

The Spaniard played a poor pass out towards Pascal Struijk. Arsenal were able to regain possession, and the move culminated in Bukayo Saka finding the roof of the net for what would prove to be the only goal.

Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images

Rodrigo’s afternoon ended shortly after. He was replaced at the break by Patrick Bamford. And it is fair to say that Leeds looked a lot more dangerous with Bamford leading the line.

Rodrigo was very good up until his error. But Leeds had a lot more joy taking the game to Arsenal when Bamford was up front. And Marsch suggested that his unintentional assist was not why he was taken off.

Mistake not the reason for Rodrigo substitution

“I said the reason I took him out wasn’t because of the mistake. It was because I felt like he was getting a little bit tired and not pressing in certain ways that we wanted. And then I felt like bringing on fresh legs. And that was the plan from the beginning with him and Patrick against Arsenal,” he told his pre-match press conference.

“It was just when do we do it? So we decided to it at half-time. But I was clear with Rodri that he’s very important, that we need him, that him and Patrick will play together a lot, that we will continue to try and create clarity in roles and help him to continue to push. And he’s been incredibly important and our most dangerous player. He was good.”

The problem for Rodrigo is that Leeds did look more dangerous with Bamford up front. There is surely no doubt that Rodrigo’s best performances for the Whites have come when he has been playing as a number nine.

Marsch mentioned playing the two together. But many of the Leeds fans will be hoping to see a starting lineup which involves Luis Sinisterra, Jack Harrison and Brenden Aaronson playing behind Bamford at Leicester on Thursday.

Rodrigo will still get opportunities. Unfortunately, it appears that we are still at the stage where Bamford simply cannot get through as much football as he would like.

His minutes are still being managed. It seems imperative that Rodrigo makes the most of his chance while that is the case as a frustrating spell could beckon otherwise.

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