Leeds notebook: Iraola, Corberan, Postecoglu – what’s next at Elland Road?
Leeds are considering Rayo Vallecano head coach Andoni Iraola, West Brom boss Carlos Corberan and Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou along with other candidates to replace Jesse Marsch as head coach.
Here Sky Sports News‘ Tim Thornton reflects on what’s next for Leeds, Marsch’s time in charge at Elland Road, what went wrong – and why a good platform is in place for his successor…
Who’s next for Leeds?
The process of finding a replacement for Marsch is already underway and Leeds hope to make a swift appointment.
There are lots of names doing the rounds.
Marcelo Bielsa was one of the first names mentioned on Monday but a move for the former Leeds boss is highly unlikely, but West Brom boss Carlos Corberan, who worked under Bielsa, is a candidate, while Ange Postecoglou at Celtic has also been linked.
Rayo Vallecano head coach Andoni Iraola is someone Leeds are aware of but there are lots of names that fall into that category.
Another name that cropped up overnight was the Spain legend Raul. He’s reserve team manager at Real Madrid and he was actually someone Leeds looked at last year before appointing Marsch.
However, there is a feeling he will not leave Real Madrid and although Leeds are aware of him, I would not expect that to develop.
It is also worth noting Leeds have a track record of left field appointments, so as they work through their list of targets, there is a good chance that a candidate emerges that could surprise everybody.
Another consideration will be if they need to bring someone in with Premier League experience given their current predicament, but Leeds are working through a list of potential candidates and no approach has been made yet for any candidate.
In the meantime, in what is a huge week for Leeds, Michael Skubala, Paco Gallardo and Chris Armas will take training at Thorp Arch, and will be in the dugout for Wednesday’s Premier League fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Leeds also play United at Elland Road on Sunday live on Super Sunday.
Positive signs but lack of points cost Marsch
Jesse Marsch was approaching his one-year anniversary as Leeds United head coach before the decision was taken on Monday to relieve him of his duties.
The defeat to Nottingham Forest a day earlier had been the final straw for the Leeds board, who were all aligned in the view that a change was necessary after almost three months without a Premier League win.
The recent statistics paint a grim picture for Leeds. Seven Premier League games without a win and just two wins in the last 17 league games. And against Forest, although they dominated in the first half and created the better chances, a worrying pattern had started to develop which had become a huge concern for fans. Leeds were producing performances with lots of positives, but not enough points.
There is little doubt that a large proportion of the fan base had lost patience with Marsch, and they made their frustrations clear at the full-time whistle on Sunday with calls for a change of head coach.
What is very evident is that Leeds have not kicked on this season. At times there have been really promising signs, but the fans and the board at Leeds wanted more. Marsch will feel that with time he could have delivered more, but he was also realistic enough to know that he was walking a tightrope.
I got to know Jesse well during his 12 months at Elland Road and it was abundantly clear he cared passionately about the club. He understood what it meant to be head coach of Leeds United and what the club meant to the city and the fans. He has to be given great credit for keeping Leeds in the Premier League last season, but there will be disappointment for Marsch, who will be frustrated he’s not able to finish the job he started.
Although it has not worked out for Marsch this season, there is a strong argument to suggest that the next Leeds boss will be in a great position to move the club forward.
Patrick Bamford and Luis Sinisterra are now fit, and the January additions should make the starting line-up stronger. The club has also invested heavily in young players and one of those, Willy Gnonto, has emerged as one of the shining lights of the season.
Those factors have created an expectation that Leeds are better than their current league position, and that means a reluctance to accept another season fighting to avoid the drop. It also means that there are reasons to be optimistic about the future.
Leeds’ next Premier League fixtures
February 8: Manchester United (A) – kick-off 8pm
February 12: Manchester United (H) – kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports
February 18: Everton (A) – kick-off 3pm
February 25: Southampton (H) – kick-off 3pm
March 4: Chelsea (A) – kick-off 3pm
March 11: Brighton (H) – kick-off 3pm
March 18: Wolves (A) – kick-off 3pm