Leeds have launched a search for their 13th head coach in less than a decade after parting company with Jesse Marsch following a dreadful run of results.
American Marsch was relieved of his duties on Monday afternoon, 24 hours on from a 1-0 defeat at promoted Nottingham Forest after which disgruntled fans called for his head.
A statement on Leeds’ official website said: “Leeds United can confirm head coach Jesse Marsch has been relieved of his duties.
“Rene Maric, Cameron Toshack and Pierre Barrieu will also leave the club. We would like to thank Jesse and his backroom staff for their efforts and wish them well for the future.
“The process of appointing a new head coach is underway and we will continue to keep supporters up to date throughout the coming days.”
Marsch’s departure comes with the club sitting in 17th place in the Premier League table, clear of the relegation zone only on goal difference, and having collected just three points from the last 21 they have contested – with two matches against fierce rivals Manchester United to come this week.
Former RB Leipzig boss Marsch was drafted in as Marcelo Bielsa’s replacement in February last year with Leeds hoping he could pick up the baton from the Argentinian.
Speaking at the time, he knew he had big shoes to fill amid some unfavourable reaction, but urged supporters to give him a chance.
He told LUTV: “I have a lot to prove to our fanbase that I’m the right guy to follow such a hero like Marcelo Bielsa.
“But I think the key is when they see the team play and they play with passion, heart and they show that they’re also intelligent and clear with the playing model and they’re aggressive, then the fans will tolerate the coach even if they don’t like his accent or if he’s not as popular as the previous coach.”
Director of football Victor Orta was confident Marsch would win over his doubters.
He said on the club’s official website: “We have a long-term plan and firmly believe he can take Leeds United to the next level and are excited for what the future holds.”
Marsch took up the reins with the club sitting 16th and two points clear of the bottom three and eventually guided them to a 17th-placed finish on the final day of the season.
However, he was never really able to address the problems which blighted the latter days of the Bielsa era with injuries – key man Patrick Bamford’s bid for fitness and form in particular – and recruitment blighting his efforts to build upon that escape.
In addition his tactical approach, which sought to create chaos for opponents, proved successful only sporadically.
Leeds appointed Armas as Marsch’s assistant at the end of last month, the pair reunited after spending thee years together at New York Red Bulls.
And with new signings Georginio Rutter, Max Wober and Weston McKennie all arriving with Marsch’s approval, it appeared the American, for now, had the board’s backing.
Bielsa, who was touted as a replacement for Frank Lampard at Everton before Sean Dyche’s appointment, has been linked with a return to the club amid his successor’s struggles, perhaps more romantically than realistically.
What is clear is that chairman Andrea Radrizzani needs to find the right man quickly if Leeds are to avoid being dragged into the thick of another scrap for survival.