Junior Firpo has told Leeds Live the main difference between Javi Gracia and Jesse Marsch is that the new Leeds United boss is not asking his players to press 100% of the time – and it keeps the players fresh when they do attack.
Marsch was axed when his chaotic style of football ended in disaster. Despite huge wins over Chelsea and even at Anfield against Liverpool, Leeds picked up 18 points from 20 games. Leeds decided to make a change last month.
Michael Skubala took over for three games, earning only a point. A 1-0 loss to Everton saw the club admit defeat in moves for the likes of Andoni Iraola, Arne Slot, Ange Postecoglou and others – swooping to bring in Javi Gracia.
Appointed on a flexible contract, Gracia has his Leeds players playing in more of a balanced approach. Sitting in a defensively solid system, but still boasting just as much attacking potency – with so much more width than Marsch.
Firpo was quizzed on the tactical differences between Marsch and new boss Gracia – who has seven points from his first four League games. He says that Gracia does not want his side to press all the time, which Marsch did at Leeds.
“The biggest difference everyone can see now is we’re compact. We don’t do high-intensity running all the time or this pressing all the time. We just wait for the right moment because if you wait, you are fresh for [the] attack.
“This is the biggest difference. People need to know, pressing all the time is not a good thing, especially against really good teams on the ball; Brighton. If we pressed this team all the time, they would have hurt us much more.”
Firpo on main difference between new Leeds boss Gracia and Marsch
It is simple, but it makes sense. When asked why Leeds succumbed to the long ball against Bournemouth, and why his players did not retreat to help deal with the direct approach by the Cherries – Marsch’s answer was worrying.
He felt that the Leeds players had not pressed enough, to stop the direct ball. But ultimately, you cannot always stop it. The Leeds players would then be tired when they were in possession. Gracia is thinking more methodically.
Yes, it would be great if Marsch’s tactics came off. Constant chaos, constant attacking football that saw Leeds keep on scoring and creating chances. But in the real world, that does not work. Gracia’s approach is working.