New Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch admits he has “a lot to prove” but has backed himself to win over a fanbase still reeling from the sacking of the revered Marcelo Bielsa.
Marsch becomes only the second American to take charge of a Premier League club — after Bob Bradley’s spell at Swansea in 2016 lasted just 85 days.
Bielsa was dumped after three-and-a-half years at the helm.
Owner Andrea Radrizzani insisted he had acted to “secure” Leeds’ hard-earned top-flight status and the club have swiftly appointed a successor, with Marsch signing a deal running to June 2025, pending international clearance.
A two-time winner of the Austrian Bundesliga with Salzburg, Marsch last coached at German top-flight side Leipzig, whom he left after just 21 games in December, and the 48-year-old believes he can build on what Bielsa has achieved.
“I think almost every job I’ve had, I’ve followed a club legend,” Marsch said on LUTV.
“There’s massive challenges to that. I have a lot to prove to our fanbase that I’m the right guy to follow such a hero like Marcelo Bielsa.”
Leeds are two points and two places above the drop zone but, with key players due to return from injury in the coming weeks, unhappy supporters wanted Bielsa, the man who restored their Premier League place after a 16-year exile, to see the job through.
However, a terrible February in which they conceded 20 goals — the most ever in a month for a Premier League club — forced Radrizzani’s hand.
“I think I was identified by the club as a good follow-up to what Marcelo has created,” Marsch said.
“I think my style of play, my aggressiveness, the desire I have for teams to be intensive and to run and to make things difficult for the opponent fits with what has been done over the last three-and-a-half years.”
His first game in charge of Leeds will be against Leicester on Saturday.
Marsch took up a position as the United States national team’s assistant in 2010 after his playing retirement.
He was coach at Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls in MLS before a successful spell at Salzburg, where he won the league and cup double in his first season, followed by a short-lived reign at Leipzig.
“Jesse is someone we identified a number of years ago during his time at Red Bull Salzburg and we believe his philosophy and style of football aligns with that of the club and will suit the players very well,” Victor Orta, Leeds’ director of football, said on the club’s website.