FULHAM did for Steven Gerrard in midweek – and they could have just put the final nail in Jesse Marschâs Leeds coffin.
The miserable Whites plunge into the bottom three for the first time this season following their fourth straight defeat.
Winless in eight, furious Leeds fans once again turned on Marsch.
After Bobby Decordova-Reid put the Cottagers 2-1 up, the locals yelled “Youâre getting sacked in the morning” at the American.Â
And boos were ringing around all four corners of Elland Road when Willian bagged Fulham’s third after Alexander Mitrovic had earlier cancelled out Rodrigoâs opener.
Before this latest chastening defeat, United chiefs insisted Marsch had enough credit in the back and would not be axed if beaten by Fulham.Â
But owner Andrea Radrizzani – also heckled by angry home supporters – now faces a huge decision.
With trips to Liverpool and Tottenham two of their three games before the World Cup break, things could get worse yet.
On the other hand, Marco Silvaâs West Londoners are motoring.Â
Having seen off Aston Villa 3-0 on Thursday, this was their fifth win of the season – the same as they managed across 38 games when relegated two seasons ago.Â
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Marsch made six changes following Thursdayâs shocking 2-0 defeat at rock-bottom Leicester, drafting in Liam Cooper, Pascal Struijk, Luke Ayling, Jack Harrison, Sam Greenwood and Rodrigo.
For what the underfire American described as a âbig, big gameâ in his programme notes, Patrick Bamford was benched.
Battered by the mutinous travelling fans at the King Power, Marsch pleaded: âWe have to stick together.Â
âWe all need your support now more than ever, as being unified is what makes this club so specialâ.
Starting the day in 16th, only outside of the bottom three on goal difference, a fast start was imperative to keep Elland Road onside.
United duly delivered but there were moans and groans just 14 minutes in when Harrison Reed was only denied by an incredible goal-line clearance by Marc Roca.Â
The grand old stadium was bouncing six minutes later though when Rodrigo put them ahead.
Jack Harrison was through on goal following Antonee Robinsonâs horribly mistimed interception, but Tim Ream scarpered across to block.Â
Ballooned up in the air, Rodrigo was on hand to nod home his fifth of the campaign at the back post.
Yet the relief was short-lived, with Leeds keeper Illan Meslier – making his 100th Whites appearance – gifting red-hot Mitrovic the equaliser.
The Serbian got in front of Ayling at the near post to meet Andreas Pereiraâs cross but his flick-on was straight at the Frenchman, only for it to spill through his hands and in.
On fire this season, this was the Serbian’s ninth Prem goal in 11 games – tripling his tally of three when Fulham were relegated in 2020-21.Â
Leeds were all over the shop now and Meslier went someway to making amends when denying Pereira to his left after the Brazilian raced in unchecked on a rapid counter.Â
The Cottagers had the better of a back-and-forth first half but Leeds were inches away from taking the lead again at the start of the second when Brenden Aaronson scooped one just over.
Elland Road were doing their best to roar their lads on but all four corners were silent when Pereira slipped Joao Palinha in on the break, only for the Portuguese to make a right hash of it and spoon out under pressure from Ayling.
Marsch called for Bamford 63 minutes in and the striker had a huge chance moments later, but Bernd Leno was out in a flash to deny him when played through by Aaronson.
The American has bemoaned their lack of ruthlessness in front of goal all season.
And, not for the first time, they were made to pay when the defence switched off again and Fulham took the lead.Â
A corner from the right found its way back to Andreas Pereira, who whipped it into the Bobby De Cordova-Reid at the near post.
In an embarrassing amount of space 12 yards out, his glancing header into the far post prompted further fury directed at Marsch.
Then came the chants telling the home manager he will be unemployed by Monday morning.
Yet itâs not just Marsch the Leeds supporters are fed up with, as they also let rip at owner Andrea Radrizzani.
And things went from bad to worse when Willian made it 3-1 with six minutes remaining.Â
Harrison Reed waltzed through two weak challenges in the box and teed up the Brazilian.Â
Prompting further boos from all four corners of Elland Road, disgruntled fans walked out en masse to end another miserable day at the office for Jesse Marsch.
Sub Crysencio Summerville pulled one back in injury time but it was too late as Fulham held out for victory.
Here’s how the action unfolded…
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