Jesse Marsch believes Leeds were ‘overtrained’ under Marcelo Bielsa and has opened up on how he is trying to move on from the Argentine’s era at Elland Road.
Marsch was named as the replacement for Bielsa following the sacking of the 66-year-old in February, an unpopular decision among many Leeds supporters after Bielsa returned the club to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.
Marsch inherited a Leeds side on a run of four straight defeats and missing a wealth of key personnel, though the American believes Bielsa’s infamous training methods contributed to the club’s injury issues.
“The injury issue had a lot to do with the training methodologies,” Marsch told talkSPORT.
“These players were overtrained. It led to them being physically, mentally, psychologically and emotionally in a difficult place to recover from week to week, from game to game.
“I have a very specific methodology with the way I work. I’ve had a reputation for high running data, but also having healthy, fit and strong players who can meet the standards in the game that we want.
“I’ve tried to put that into place to help the players and I think that has helped a lot.”
Marsch spoke on how he has adapted Leeds’ training methods and has overseen an upturn in results, with three wins and a draw from the club’s last four matches having moved the side nine points clear of the bottom three.
The 48-year-old believes some of his squad were suffering from burn-out and insists less training can lead to a healthier squad.
“You could see it in their faces,” he said. “You could see in the 15th minute that some of them were already at the max – and that shouldn’t be the case.
“I know there were a lot of games and guys had to play over and over again because of injuries. I find that in this sport, you have to have a fit team, but the more your best players are healthy and able to perform at a high level, that’s how you create success.
“I’ve worked very carefully through methodologies on how we train, how we play, and how that all fits together.”
Marsch spoke further on the challenges of moving Leeds on from the Bielsa era, who developed a reputation for his demanding tactical approach.
The former Red Bull Salzburg boss insists he will be patient with his squad, however, admitting he himself is still adjusting to the Premier League and life in England itself.
“The other part is just the playing style,” he said. “Marcelo had such a strong man-v-man playing style. And trying to rip the players away from three-and-a-half years of being instructed to do exactly that, transitioning into what we’re trying to do, has been massively challenging for the players to adapt to.
“They’ve worked really hard at it, but they still fall into bad habits, especially when they’re fatigued on the pitch. It’s normal.
“I’m going to tell them a story today. I was watching a video on the bus ride back [from Watford], and I was frustrated with some of the things that we’re still not grasping so quickly.
“But then when I got off the bus and went to get in my car, I got in the wrong side because I’m still not used to that! So I thought, well, I need to be a bit more patient with them.”