Bielsa would have kept Leeds up but I’m not so sure Marsch will, says Woodgate

Jonathan Woodgate believes Leeds United were wrong to sack Marcelo Bielsa - and admits they may pay the price by losing their Premier League status.

The sale of Woodgate in 2003 was one of the reasons behind the club's last slide out of the top flight, with the West Yorkshire club having to wait until 2020 to regain their Premier League status.

Bielsa was the man who restored Leeds to the top table and the Middlesbrough-born centre-back says he deserved more time to turn the season around, especially in view of their crippling injury problems.

Speaking to, he said: "I would have kept Bielsa on, as I think he would have turned it round.

"I know they'd been on a bad run, particularly at home losing a few, but he would have turned it around.

"I was a big fan of Marcelo Bielsa, and what he did to the Leeds team and the players, he improved the club and the players, but I just think Leeds wanted something fresh.

Jonathan Woodgate Leeds Jan02

"I think the injuries have really hampered them. Most of the season they've had no (Liam) Cooper, (Kalvin) Phillips and (Patrick) Bamford - the spine of the team. Cooper is injured now, Stuart Dallas, Bamford.

"Without three of the most reliable players aside from Phillips and Raphinha, it's going to be really difficult for Leeds, but I just hope they stay up. I really do because they've a massive football club."

A second win on the bounce for a resurgent Everton dropped Leeds into the bottom three for the first time last weekend. The Toffees still have a game in hand on their relegation rivals - and two home matches to play - which Woodgate believes will be enough to see them to safety.

"Everton have been brilliant the last few games, beating Chelsea at home and beating Leicester away and the victory against Man United as well. I was looking at their away form and thinking they hadn't won since Brighton on August 28 - six points away from home since before Leicester.

"I think they'll be okay now as they've got a couple of home games and I think they'll pick up six points from their two home games.

"It's gonna be down to Burnley and Leeds.

"I watched Jesse Marsch's first game against Leicester, and I know they got beat in that game, but you could see what they were trying to do and they were very good. They've been playing very well, and I thought they were clear of the danger, but have been dragged back in by the form of Burnley and Everton. But it's out of Burnley and Leeds."

Much has been made of an appetising final two games for Leeds, which sees them round off their campaign with fixtures at home to Brighton and away at Brentford.

Both teams have little to play for, but Woodgate says his former side shouldn't be too hasty to write off their chances of picking up something from their next game - at home to Chelsea.

The Blues take on Liverpool in the FA Cup just three days after their meeting with Leeds and Woodgate is hopeful that will affect their focus - not that they've been in the best of form recently, anyway.

"Chelsea aren't in great form, they've got five points from their last five games and look like they've taken their foot off the gas a bit, and have the cup final coming up so will they maybe rest a few players for that?

"I know third isn't in the bag yet with Arsenal and Spurs putting the pressure on, so it will be interesting to see what team Tuchel puts out.

"You wanna try and win every game but a point wouldn't be a bad result against Chelsea. But if they rest a few players, Leeds could capitalise on it and as I said, Chelsea are not in great form at the minute."

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