Jesse Marsch has warned his hot-headed players it is time to keep their cool after revealing the club’s owners held a crisis meeting with the team this week.
Leeds are rooted in the relegation zone heading into Sunday’s penultimate match of the season with Brighton following three successive defeats.
In the most recent losses to Arsenal and Chelsea, the Whites had a man sent off in the opening half-an-hour, with Luke Ayling and Dan James both guilty of wild tackles.
Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch urged his players to keep their cool after successive red cards
Leeds face Brighton this weekend following three defeats in a row as they fight for survival
‘We are aware that killed us in the last two matches and it can’t happen again,’ said manager Marsch ahead of the visit of the Seagulls.
‘Discipline in these moments is important. We want to be aggressive but not overzealous.
‘We know that going into these last two matches we cannot afford to pick up any more red cards.
‘We have to find a way to turn the momentum and this match can be the defining moment in the season.’
Dan James was given his marching orders in the 3-0 loss to Chelsea at Elland Road last week
Luke Ayling was given an early bath for lunging in on Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli recently, too
Marsch has questioned whether his own much-discussed motivational methods are to blame for getting his team too pumped up.
But he believes the discipline issue is more to do with players being desperate to impress the Leeds fans.
‘Internally with our coaching staff, we said “Are we over motivating?”,’ confessed Marsch. ‘But even the last team talk I gave before the Chelsea match was calm.
‘Obviously we have a team here that is aggressive and wants to perform for their fans. It’s part of the reason for the red cards, I think.
‘I don’t think it’s an accident that Luke’s red comes right in front of the fans at the Emirates. It’s because they want to do whatever they can for the fans.’
Marsch insists his dressing room is united as they desperately battle against relegation
Asked if he was still in control of the dressing room, Marsch replied: ‘Yes. It’s not, “Am I in control?”. It’s, “Are we united?” and we’re totally unified.
‘The yellow cards and fouls reflects a desire on the pitch.
‘We know the two red cards crossed the line and that hurt us. But we’re aggressive and we want to go after the opponent.’
Despite Leeds’ plight, Marsch believes he retains the full support of the board and detailed a training-ground visit from owner Andrea Radrizzani, chief executive Angus Kinnear and director of football Victor Orta the day after Wednesday’s Chelsea defeat.
‘We had the ownership speak to the players – they were all totally unified,’ added Marsch.
He revealed chairman Andrea Radrizzani (right) and director of football Victor Orta (left) visited the team on the training ground to lift their spirits amid this ongoing relegation fight
‘They just tried to say we have everything within our grasp and we have the ability to recover and go again.
‘There was a lot of talk about belief. A lot of things they said fit with things I’ve said already to the team, so that also lets you know there’s real alignment here.
‘One of the reasons I came here was because I believed in the people and the people believed in me.
‘In difficult moments I’ve been really impressed with everybody’s ability to stay unified and supportive.
‘I know the players are all in and none of them want to see this project end at this moment. Everyone understands that we need to keep together to stay in the league.’