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Jesse Marsch urges Leeds not to point the finger at individual players after defeat to Arsenal

‘If we start playing the blame game, we’re screwed’: Jesse Marsch urges Leeds not to point the finger at each other as the Whites fall into the relegation zone after individual errors cost them in defeat to Arsenal

LeedsĀ boss Jesse Marsch fears his team are ‘screwed’ if they start playing the blame game after slipping into the relegation zone.

A 2-1 defeat at Arsenal saw the Yorkshire side drop into the bottom three – but Leeds were there own worst enemy as goalkeeper Illan Meslier’s huge error allowed Eddie Nketiah to open the scoring before Luke Ayling saw a straight red card for an irresponsible challenge on Gabriel Martinelli in the 27th minute.

But Marsch insists his players can’t start accusing each other if they are to have any chance of successfully fighting the drop.

Jesse Marsch says Leeds’ players must not start blaming each other as they battle relegation

Goalkeeper Illan Meslier gifted Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah the opening goal in Leeds' defeat

Goalkeeper Illan Meslier gifted Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah the opening goal in Leeds’ defeat

‘If we started playing the blame game with players, we’re screwed,’ said Marsch. ‘We’ve got to stick together and fight for points, it’s not a time to point the finger.

‘We dug ourselves a massive hole and made a difficult task much, much more difficult. But our resolve and fight when the game was incredibly hard was amazing.

‘The ironic thing was this was 500 games for Luke, but it was a moment of poor judgement. He apologised to the group.

‘Young goalkeepers can make mistakes, but the rest of his game was quite good today. We are going to need him in the last three games.’

Luke Ayling was then shown a straight red card for a needless challenge on Gabriel Martinelli

Luke Ayling was then shown a straight red card for a needless challenge on Gabriel Martinelli

The Whites have slipped into the Premier League relegation zone following their defeat

The Whites have slipped into the Premier League relegation zone following their defeat

On whether Leeds can avoid relegation, Marsch added: ‘I do (believe we can stay up). We have to stay positive, stay strong and forage on. The focus is fully on Chelsea to prepare for a key game.’

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta believes his players are showing they will not crack under the pressure of the top-four race as Arsenal head into Thursday’s crucial North London Derby.

The Gunners were forced to endure a nervy finale against Leeds and also had to ride out an anxious ending in the win at West Ham last weekend.

Mikel Arteta believes his Arsenal players will not crack under the pressure of the top-four race

Mikel Arteta believes his Arsenal players will not crack under the pressure of the top-four race

And Arteta believes those experiences bode well for his team as they head into this week’s clash at Tottenham – where victory will secure Champions League qualification.

‘We are finding ways to win matches, under pressure to play in front of our people is credit to them. We are getting better and dealing with it because we are winning matches,’ said Arteta.

‘Hopefully it’s not just about handling the nerves but when you look at the other games you see a lot of that because now is the defining moment when a goal can change a whole season and that plays on the back of the mind.’

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