Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has said he expects to stay with the club if the Whites can ‘overtake’ Burnley in the Premier League relegation battle.
Marsch inherited a struggling side from Elland Road favorite Marcelo Bielsa and was unable to turn their fortunes around, with Leeds sitting 18th due to a lower goal difference than 17th-placed Burnley .
Everton secured their Premier League status with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace on Thursday, when Burnley took the lead but were held 1-1 by Aston Villa.
Leeds need to improve on Burnley’s result on Sunday to escape the drop, but will face Thomas Frank’s Brentford, who are unbeaten in their last 10 league games at home to Los Blancos (W6 D4) since a 2-1 defeat in 1950.
Marsch, speaking at a pre-match press conference on Friday, acknowledged that the game with Brentford is likely to be a must-win otherwise Leeds will be dependent on Burnley failing Newcastle United.
“[There were] lots of emotions looking at it. We can learn a lot from how other players can handle pressure differently,” he said while watching Thursday’s Premier League matches.
“We’re excited about this challenge – we know we have to be at our best. I never came here thinking it would be easy. I knew we had to fight for everything. I’m going to make sure we do this Sunday.
“It would have been much easier if we were already locked in the league, but the fact that we have to overtake Burnley makes it very clear to us. A win gives us the best opportunity.
“I slept well last night because I still have confidence in our group. [It is] better when we control our destiny, but we don’t. [We need] do everything we can to score points.”
Marsch is hoping to bring in Patrick Bamford, who has been out since mid-March with a foot injury but has yet to make a final decision.
“More than anything, we don’t risk it on any level,” he said of his star striker. “Right now I don’t think we’ll be able to.
“We’ll have another meeting tomorrow with Patrick about what it looks like, what the loads have been, how he’s feeling, and then make a final assessment of his availability, how many minutes, what’s the best strategy and then we need to be ready to let him go play. That’s where we are.”
Regardless of whether Leeds will play the next Championship football campaign, Marsch plans to still be in charge.
“I still plan to be here even in relegation,” added the American. “It’s a long-term project and the club is committed to me in that way. The bonds we have formed complement each other well.
“Everyone’s support has been incredible, but I’m not thinking about the long-term project, just Sunday and preparing for it.”