Stars reveals what Leeds players can expect from their new manager Jesse Marsch

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If Leeds players thought they could finally catch their breath after four brutal years under Marcelo Bielsa, wait until they find out what their new manager has in store.

‘He loved us to do the running first,’ says Lloyd Sam, the former Leeds and Charlton winger, who played under new Whites boss Jesse Marsch at New York Red Bulls. ‘He was not opposed to playing, but the first thing was you had to be able to run.’

Running, of course, is something Leeds stars have become rather accustomed to since 2018. Bielsa built a running track around their Thorp Arch training complex and famously put on ‘murderball’ matches, where the ball was continuously in play and players would have to sprint back to designated cones.

Jesse Marsch (above) was announced as Marcelo Bielsa’s successor at Leeds on Monday

Some within the club believed Bielsa’s punishing sessions contributed to Leeds’ injury crisis this season. But there were also fears that sacking the Argentine would mean tired players seized the chance to down tools. But according to those who know Marsch, 48, there will be no let up under the new regime.

‘He doesn’t want anything but hard work,’ confirms ex-England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, who also worked with Marsch in New York. ‘I had never trained that hard before in my life. There will be a lot of running involved.’

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As well as cracking the whip in training, Bielsa was known for the exhaustive way he prepared for games and analysed opponents. That spilled over with the Spy-gate saga of 2019, when he sent a staff member to watch Derby train. But while his Leeds successor Marsch may not possess bolt cutters, he does share the same obsessive attention to detail.

‘He leaves no stone unturned when going into a game,’ Sam, 37, tells Sportsmail. ‘He has a very, very high attention to detail about every little moment.’

Shaun Wright-Phillips has said Marsch insists on his players always working hard on the pitch

Shaun Wright-Phillips has said Marsch insists on his players always working hard on the pitch

Marsch admits himself that his style of play is similar to Bielsa’s high-press, high-tempo approach. Indeed, that continuity is a big reason why Leeds have appointed the American. But crucially, there will be differences defensively, with Marsch ditching the much-maligned man-to-man marking favoured by his predecessor.

‘His press is pretty similar to Bielsa’s, but he just doesn’t allow for his players to do the man-to-man part, where they end up vacating certain areas of the pitch and leaving big gaps which can be exploited,’ adds Wright-Phillips.

Emphasis will also be placed on defending set-pieces, something which was a huge problem for Leeds throughout Bielsa’s reign.

Last season, they conceded 15 goals from set-pieces, the most in the Premier League, and this term they have already let in 13 from dead-ball situations, another League high.

Lloyd Sam (R) has also praised Marsch's meticulous attention to detail as a manager

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Lloyd Sam (R) has also praised Marsch’s meticulous attention to detail as a manager

Players can also expect to spend time learning new and unorthodox attacking routines, which Marsch became known for during his early years in the MLS. ‘I remember doing a lot of work on set-pieces,’ says Chelsea centre half Matt Miazga, another former New York Red Bulls player.

‘He would take a couple of guys who were expected to play and show us a few set-pieces that he had in mind so we could wrap our head around it. We would train them on the side against no opposition just to get the movements.

‘The day before the game when we would be doing 11 v 11, we would do it against the players who were not starting. It would consistently work in games.’

Perhaps one of the first differences Leeds players will notice is that they suddenly have an arm around their shoulder.

Bielsa enjoyed a great relationship with his squad, as was evident by their tributes on social media following his sacking, but he was sure to keep a professional distance from them. The opposite, though, is true of Marsch, with pictures released by the club this week already showing him hugging his new workforce.

‘I haven’t had a coach who has been this close to us,’ RB Leipzig centre half Willi Orban said about his then manager last year. ‘He says to us, “Boys, your problems are my problems”. That gives you a tremendous feeling. For a coach like that, you walk through fire.’

Erling Haaland worked under Marsch and claimed that he got on very well with the American

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Erling Haaland worked under Marsch and claimed that he got on very well with the American

Even Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland, who played under Marsch at Red Bull Salzburg, commented: ‘Jesse and I had a great relationship. We still talk on the phone sometimes. I am lucky to have got to know him as a coach, but also as a person. He is an amazing guy.’

Marsch, then, is certainly no ‘El Loco’ — the nickname given to Bielsa, meaning ‘the crazy one’. But he is also no shrinking violent and is capable of rousing a dressing room with a stirring speech.

‘He was a passionate personality,’ recalls Miazga. ‘Passionate about the team, about the way we were playing, about results.

‘He was not really fiery in terms of going after players or singling people out. It was more his motivational side and giving good speeches and firing the guys up and encouraging them.’

With no win in six games, Leeds players need all the encouragement they can get.

Leeds' players need a lift after a dismal run of form that has left them just above the drop zone

Leeds’ players need a lift after a dismal run of form that has left them just above the drop zone

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