LEEDS United will not ditch their pressing style despite the temperature in England set to soar this weekend, but manager Jesse Marsch said on Thursday that his players will have to choose their moments to be aggressive.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Southampton, where the maximum temperature is expected to be around 32 degrees Celsius, Marsch said that managing player fatigue will play an important role.
The American said he has plenty of experience doing that in his stints with Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls.
“One thing about football or sport in the U.S. in the summer is it’s hot. It’s blistering and so there are things that I have learned about how to handle fatigue, heat and managing matches that way,“ Marsch told reporters.
“When I was in New York, the discussion was always, ‘can you play pressing football in the heat, in the summer?’ and actually our record in matches that were in 28-30 degrees Celsius was really strong.
“It’s about being aggressive in the right moments, it will be about managing mentally what the fatigue will be and making sure the players we bring off the bench will be ready to go.
“This I think is the moment where five substitutes, if we use them the right, can be really impactful.”
The Premier League will reintroduce drinks breaks during games this weekend after the Met Office issued an amber extreme weather warning for southern and central England.
The policy was in place in 2020 as part of protocols for the league to return following its three-month suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I know going to Southampton won’t be easy. It’s going to be hot and that will be a factor in the match and so we have to manage that well,“ added Marsch, whose side defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers last week.
“For a club like us... every game in the league is a massive challenge and we have to treat it as such. So we’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we know how important each match is.” - Reuters