Leeds’ caretaker insists Man United trip is ‘not daunting’

Leeds’ caretaker manager Michael Skubala insists a trip to Manchester United is ‘not daunting’ and has demanded his side compete at Old Trafford.

Leeds travel to face their fierce rivals on Wednesday evening as the club look to end a run of seven Premier League games without a win.

Sunday’s defeat at Nottingham Forest saw Jesse Marsch sacked as manager, with Skubala placed in charge of a side who sit outside the Premier League‘s relegation places on goal difference.


Skubula – who will manage the side alongside Paco Gallardo and Chris Armas as Leeds search for a replacement for Marsch – has outlined his demands from Leeds as the struggling side take on in-form Manchester United at Old Trafford.

“It’s a collective approach. We pick the team together, I’m doing the press, but we are all going to put together a team to have a go at Manchester United. It’s exciting,” he told a pre-match press conference.

“The players are professionals, you don’t need to get anyone up for Manchester United at Old Trafford. It’s not daunting, but exciting.

“We have 24 hours, one [training] session this afternoon so some things will have to be the same. There’s no point throwing the baby out with the bath water and we need to make sure the players understand the match plan.”

Skubala discussed his temporary time in charge and says he will return to the under 21s when an appointment is finalised, and discussed Leeds’ decision to sack Marsch after just 11 months in charge.

“It will be temporary. I’m here to support the club in this moment of time. They are all working really hard to appoint a full-time coach, then I will go back to my job.

“It’s about being calm and positive. It’s exciting. As coaches you enjoy challenges and it’s a good challenge for me and the coaches. They [the board] are working really hard behind the scenes to come up with a solution.

“Jesse was a good guy and the team was working hard for Jesse. Professional footballers are used to change. The mood, I wouldn’t say it’s down, but it’s OK. We have to face Manchester United, be positive and go after the three points.”

United have won 11 of their 13 games since the season’s restart post-World Cup and Skubula is anticipating a tough test. However, the caretaker boss is confident that Leeds can be ‘competitive and put on a good show’ against their northern rivals.

“Nobody thinks it will be easy [against Manchester United] but as long as we are competitive and put on a good show on the pitch, that’s the most we can ask for.

“We will set up a team that’s competitive without the ball and set up a team that will try to exploit their weaknesses. We’ve been really good without the ball, on the front foot and aggressive and that’s something we can’t change.

“I saw Jesse before he left and he spoke to all the staff, that [what he said] is personal. The situation is very hard for the club and Jesse. He did a great job, he tried to build a team with a way of playing but ultimately the board decided they didn’t think he was getting enough points and it’s a points-based industry.

“Everybody that has to leave a club is disappointed. It’s a disappointing time for Jesse. He was very professional and very caring to the staff and said his goodbyes in a very professional manner.”

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