Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch has rubbished claims he has lost the support of the dressing room, with the American stating he is convinced of player backing ahead of their Premier League game with Brentford.
A dominant FA Cup replay win over lowly Cardiff marked the high point of an otherwise difficult few months for the Whites, who have struggled to deliver on the field over the new year period.
Reports have speculated that Marsch has struggled to win over his squad amid the difficulties of the season, but “a couple came together and a couple came separately,” he said. “It wasn’t like they went out of their way.
“We interact here constantly, we are team-mates, it is how we work. We support each other always and it is a really wonderful place to be.
“I am thankful for the club and the players here – it is special. So it was fairly clear that we are together.
“I appreciated them coming to me but I knew it was there. I didn’t need to ask anyone as I knew it wasn’t true.”
Opposite number Thomas Frank meanwhile is not underestimating his opponent as his time prepare to head to Elland Road.
“Leeds is one of the most difficult away grounds to go to,” he said. “They have played and performed much better than their results.
“They have so many pacey, skilful players going forward. We need to be very well organized defensively. We are on a good run and need to go there with confidence and belief that we can get a win.”
The Bees boss also played down transfer speculation surrounding an exit for David Raya while stressing he hopes players in the frame for a move stay focused, adding: “I always expect them to train well and do well for the club.
“David Raya really cares about Brentford and the team so I can’t see that him, or anyone else, isn’t doing everything they can to make sure we are doing our best.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leeds – Patrick Bamford
The onetime England international has scored or assisted a goal in each of his last two Premier League appearances, despite playing a total of just 61 minutes from the No Leeds player has ever been involved in a goal in three consecutive Premier League substitute appearances before.
Brentford – Ivan Toney
Brentford striker Ivan Toney has scored 13 goals in 17 Premier League games this season, one more than he managed in 33 appearances last season. He’s scored all nine of his Premier League penalties, with only Yaya Toure having a better 100 per cent record (11/11).
KEY OPTA FACTS
– There have been 14 goals in the three Premier League meetings between Leeds and Brentford (6 for Leeds, 8 for Brentford), with the Bees winning 5-2 earlier this season.
– Brentford are looking to complete a league double over Leeds for only the second time in their history, doing so previously in 2014-15 in the Championship.
– Having won two of their first three Premier League games this season (D1), Leeds have won just two of their subsequent 15 matches (D4 L9), with those victories coming consecutively in October/November against Liverpool and Bournemouth.
– Brentford have won their last three Premier League matches, last winning more consecutively as a top-flight club between February and March 1939 (5). Overall, the Bees are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games (W4 D3), with only Newcastle (14) and Arsenal (12) currently on longer runs.
– Brentford are looking to win three consecutive away league games for the first time as a top-flight club, last doing so in any division in May 2021.