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Marsch – “We never stopped believing”

After surviving relegation from the Premier League on the last day of the season, Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch lauded his players’ mindset.

Leeds won 2-1 at Brentford thanks to a late goal from Jack Harrison, sealing the destiny of Burnley, who lost 2-1 at home to Newcastle United.

Newcastle’s victory meant a point would have been enough for Leeds, who thought they might have to settle after Brentford’s Sergi Canos had cancelled out Raphinha’s penalty.

After Kristoffer Ajer was injured in the 78th minute, Brentford was down to ten men. Bees coach Thomas Frank had already made all three substitutes before Canos was sent off immediately after scoring.

Harrison took advantage of the two-man advantage in stoppage time, scoring Leeds’ fourth 90th-minute goal, more than any other side. Only champions Manchester City (nine) scored more than their eight total goals in the final minute.

Marsch told Sky Sports:

“Hot day – not easy for either team.

“We got the lead, which was important. I thought the start was perfect.

“When we were up two men, we still didn’t want to leave it up to fate.

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Marsch - "We never stopped believing"

“And we tried to push the winner to secure our destiny.

“This group has been able to dig deep in injury time and find goals, and the character is evident.

“And it’s a privilege to work with these guys.

“We talked about how to play in the heat, manage the game, and stay focused for every moment.

“Weird that we gave up a goal when we went up a man. We tried to update the players on the Burnley score.

“But the focus on us was most important.

“It’s hard to concentrate and be connected for 90 minutes on days like this, but this is typical of our group – they never stop believing, and it’s a credit to our mentality.”

Discussion around Marsch’s work at Elland Road has pitted him against predecessor Marcelo Bielsa, hugely popular among Leeds fans.

Marsch added:

“It wasn’t easy to manage, and I was trying to think of ways to help the group and be fair tactically.

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Marsch - "We never stopped believing"

“We have had good performances; it’s just trying to put it all together hasn’t always looked perfect.

“The stress has been high for three months. I’ve tried to stay calm and focus on us, and you see the quality of the mentality and character.

“There’s so much been said about Marcelo Bielsa v me, and people have counted us out. I get it; this is high-level stuff, and fans pay attention worldwide.

“It’s not a perfect representation of what I want this team to be, but in this situation.

“We came together well, and I still feel strongly about our group and the football we can play.

“And we need to get better and add some pieces, but I love this group, team, character, commitment and spirit.

“We were with our fans enough, and I appreciate the fans singing my name, but that’s not the important thing. We are Leeds United, and that’s what we will always be as long as I am here.

“I love our fans, but I don’t care if they sing my name. We must be a committed group and show us that every time on the pitch.”

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Marsch - "We never stopped believing"

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