‘A team I frankly admire’ - Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch on Steven Gerrard & Aston Villa

There was a high level of respect between both managers in their respective pre-match press conferences

Leeds United’s new manager Jesse Marsch was full of praise for both Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa’s team as a whole during his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

The former RB Leipzig boss spoke of his admiration of Gerrard as a person and player before turning his attention to Villa, a team he states he really commends.

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Steven Gerrard #8 and Robbie Keane of the Los Angeles Galaxy train at StubHub Center

Marsch crossed paths with the former Liverpool captain during his short stint in the MLS with LA Galaxy but the American says he followed his career much prior to that.

“Well I would first start with watching him as a player when he was at Liverpool,” he said.

“He was a player I admired because of his passion and his will on the pitch and so I think for a manager like him, he’s trying to then use those qualities to translate to his team, to impose upon his team and that’s clear.

“I think that they’ve responded to him really well despite every result not being what they would want.

“I can relate to that. I was nowhere near the quality of player as Steven but I tried to embody full mentality on the pitch and to be a player that played with no fear and went after the game and went after the opponents at all moments.

“I appreciate what he has said. We played against LA, I think we might have won 3-2 with a late penalty but he scored in that game if I remember correctly.”

It’s not always common for opposition managers to speak so highly of one another but it was good to see with Marsch’s compliments also stretching to the Villa team as a whole.

The 48-year-old may have only been managing in the Premier League for 10 days but it was evident he had done more than his fair share of research on the claret & blue ahead of Thursday evening.

“I’d be shocked if they didn’t play with a diamond, they’ve got two good results when they’ve played with a diamond in the last games,” Marsch explained.

“[Philippe] Coutinho has been a big factor playing as a 10 in the diamond. The two strikers, [Danny] Ings and [Ollie] Watkins have been very active and explosive, specifically in transition moments. They’ve also defended very well.

“They are a team I frankly admire with what they do with set-pieces. I’ve heard they have a set-piece coach and the creativity they show and the variation they have with everything they do means that we have to be alert and ready for any kind of special plays that they may organise.

“And a team that is very confident. So that can always be dangerous.

“We will need our fans, we will need a good start. Certainly one of the goals will be, in a good start, to find a way to get the lead. It’s been a long time for us as a team since we’ve had a lead in a match.

“We also played against them a month ago but I think we painted quite a clear picture of what to expect from the game and what our tactics are and what we want to achieve.”

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