Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has outlined his joy at seeing his players stick up for each other as a ‘brawl’ ensued against Barnsley in the second half.
Marsch got his first taste of a Yorkshire derby atmosphere last night in the shape of a EFL Cup second round tie against League One side Barnsley.
The game ended 3-1 to Leeds, but was a well-contested affair that could have ended a lot differently after events late in the first half.
As Leeds restored their two-goal lead through Mateusz Klich, Barnsley’s aggression faded somewhat with little left to play for.
The game wasn’t dead, though, with the third-tier side still eager to impose themselves, culminating in a flashpoint around the 67th minute, where former Leeds man Liam Kitching dragged Cody Drameh to the floor as the pair tussled over possession in the Leeds corner.
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With Kitching pulling the right-back to the floor, plenty of Drameh’s teammates leapt to his defence, leading to a huge scuffle in front of the South Stand – in particular Illan Meslier and Leo Hjelde were quick to the scene to get Kitching away from Drameh and put him on the deck too.
It might have been deemed unsavoury, but it showed that these players were caring about each other and the game was hugely important.
That’s the view of Jesse Marsch, who was asked whether he loved the flashpoint during his pre-match press conference, and stated (via Phil Hay):
“Yes. It was great. They didn’t cross the line and it’s very important that they’ve got each other’s backs.”
Get into ’em.
It was good to see that both sides treated it like the fixture it is, being aggressive from start to finish and looking to get one over on rivals.
Kitching was fired up from the start, and it’s not surprised after he was let go by Leeds.
It was also nice to see him put in his place after trying to bully Drameh in that moment, and the right-back imposed himself well on this game.
You can tell that our youngsters are more than ready for first-team football with how they handled this sort of occasion.