Red Bull Salzburg head coach Jesse Marsch reiterated his belief in the high-press, saying that he’d rather go down swinging against Liverpool while revealing his frustration with teams that allow Barcelona to play their famous tiki-taka.
Marsch has been within the Red Bull system since 2015, having joined as head coach of the New York Red Bulls following a stint with the Montreal Impact. His tenure with the Red Bulls was highly successful, with the club winning the 2015 Supporters’ Shield as Marsch was named MLS Coach of the Year.
After establishing the Red Bulls as perennial contenders during his tenure, Marsch went to Germany for a short-lived role as RB Leipzig assistant manager before being hired to lead Red Bull Salzburg. With Salzburg, Marsch has seen his profile rise, having led the Austrian side to a strong Champions League group stage performance.
Led by names such as Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino, Marsch’s Salzburg team went toe-to-toe with the likes of Liverpool and Napoli, pushing last year’s Champions League winners to the limit in a 4-3 defeat in October. Marsch’s halftime speech from that match went viral, with the coach encouraging his team to go out and press Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“I’d much rather go to Liverpool and lose that match 4-3 than sit back for 90 minutes and maybe try to catch them on the counter,” Marsch told Extratime Radio. “I just enjoy this way of living. And I also believe it breeds success. We went through this with New York. When I inherited the New York team it was a very passive team, they would sit a little bit deeper and then they would give the ball to Thierry Henry and they would catch you on the counter. I had to change the whole mentality of how we thought about things and how we played.”
When Marsch took over the Red Bulls, he took over a team that was coming off a successful stint under manager Mike Petke. His hiring was initially widely panned, leading to a now-infamous townhall with fans that was repeatedly disrupted and criticized.
Led by the likes of Bradley Wright-Phillips, Sacha Kljestan and Dax McCarty, Marsch’s Red Bulls developed a style that allowed them to shine in MLS, highlighted by that pressing mindset.
“It became infectious,” Marsch said. “It was so fun over the years to sit with Dax, Sacha, BWP, Luis Robles, these guys who were older and played a certain style who basically we had transformed the way they thought about football. We would be watching a Champions League game and they would be going crazy because the other team would be sitting back and allowing Barcelona to have 5,000 passes and they would be going like ‘press them, press them.'”
He added: “It’s the right way, baby. When I worked with [former RBNY GM] Ali Curtis, when we first came to Red Bull together, he coined a phrase, ‘If you want something in life, you don’t wait for it, you go out and get it.’ And that was the way we described our style of play. I call it going down swinging.”