Steven Gerrard believes recently-appointed Leeds manager Jesse Marsch will “stamp” his own tactical mark on his new side and deviate from Marcelo Bielsa’s “man-to-man” system.
The American coach succeeded the ever-enigmatic but much-beloved Argentine in the Elland Road dugout after a stuttering first half of the Premier League season, taking over at the end of February.
His first game in charge came at the weekend as Leeds lost 1-0 to Leicester City at the King Power, but there were plenty of positives for the new boss, as the relegation-threatened side carved the Foxes open on numerous occasions.
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A tactical shift was evident from the match, with Leeds appearing to line-up in a 4-2-2-2, a formation that has become synonymous with Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick, whom Marsch worked under during his stint as RB Leipzig assistant manager.
The 48-year-old will now be looking to bounce back from that loss at the King Power and get his Leeds career up and running. If his side showcase a similar level of endeavour and fluidity that unfolded in the East Midlands on Saturday, then they certainly stand a chance against Gerrard’s well-oiled Villa on Thursday night.
The ex-Rangers boss even alluded to that point in his pre-match press conference, suggesting there was a noticeable shift from Bielsa’s set-up to Marsch’s new-look side. He believes the new man in the dugout will deviate from Bielsa’s “unique” system of claustrophobic man-marking.
He said: “Tactically, you’ll see a change – you’ll have seen that in the game against Leicester. Marcelo Bielsa was very unique, as in certain areas of the pitch he’d go man-to-man and players would get followed in different positions.
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“You also heard about different training regimes that they’d practice and try to back up in the games. I’m sure Jesse will want to put his own stamp on things.
“You could see at the weekend that there were slight changes, in terms of tactics. Personnel-wise, it won’t be too much different. We know we’re in for a tough game. Watching Leeds at the weekend, they could have quite easily have got something out of the game.
“They were very dangerous going forward and we know they’ve got great attacking players. They didn’t give too much away the other end either, so there was an improvement from afar.
“I’m sure he’ll be wanting to get the Elland Road crowd right behind him, it’s his first home game. We have to be ready and prepared for that. It’s got all the makings of being a fantastic game.”