Leeds boss Jesse Marsch has admitted he won’t be able to play fearlessly for 90 minutes after their 2-2 draw with West Ham in the Premier League.
Rodrigo’s second-half hit saved a point for Leeds after Lucas Paqueta’s penalty and Gianluca Scamacca’s effort canceled Wilfried Gnonto’s opener.
Leeds remained 14th on the table, two points above the relegation zone, while West Ham emerged from the last three after five league defeats in a row following this draw, extending their undefeated streak to six games.
Marsch said: “I’m happy with the way we pushed the game to 2-1 (back), but I’m very disappointed that our players had to concede goals at that point in the game to unlock their potential, their skills and their fearlessness.
“The first half was not good enough for me. We played very backwards, we invited the opponent to many games.
“There’s some frustration and confusion about how I’m going to get them to be the team I know they can be, the team I know we can be.
“And how are we going to get them to remove that idea of pressure and stress and focus on exactly what the game should be and then perform at our level.”
Leeds, who have two points from three league games since the World Cup resumed after the hiatus, thwarted the win with two spectacular saves by Lukasz Fabianski, who blocked Rodrigo’s two more efforts.
After the match, Marsch and his players wore farewell t-shirts to commemorate Mateusz Klich, who stepped off the bench an hour later to join the club for the last time.
Leeds later confirmed that the Polish midfielder, who played a key role in the club’s rise under Marcelo Bielsa in 2020, had received an offer by Major League Soccer, a reportedly being DC United by Wayne Rooney.
Klich’s contract at Leeds won’t expire until 2024, but while Marsch can’t guarantee the player enough playing time, the new contract offer is too good for him to turn down.
“This was not a black and white decision,” Marsch added. “It was a lot of different discussions, Klichy was given the opportunity to try something new, which he thought had been going on a little longer and gave stability to his family.
“Losing him won’t be easy and between us, we’re not absolutely sure this was the right decision but I definitely wish him the best.”
West Ham boss David Moyes said he is pleased with his side’s performance after scoring their first league points since October.
Moyes said: “We struggled a lot. Sometimes it was a good old-fashioned game. I felt that when we were up 2-1, we could go ahead and win the game and at least give the game back to Leeds.
“But it’s a step in the right direction. A point at Leeds United is a good result for many teams. It’s for us at the moment.”