New head coach Jesse Marsch has vowed Leeds will show no fear in their bid to retain Premier League status.
Former RB Salzburg and Leipzig boss Marsch, 48, will take charge of his first game in the early Saturday kick-off at Leicester.
Leeds sacked Marcelo Bielsa on Sunday after a series of heavy defeats left them staring at relegation and while Marsch said tactical changes were to be expected, the club’s ‘play without fear’ mantra would be cherished.
Marsch said: “Our style of play is fearless. I think we have a lot of fearless young men here and we have to tap into that fearlessness, it will help us in a situation like this.
“The thing I loved about this team in the past is their fight, their ability to run for each other, to do whatever it takes no matter what the result was. This will have to remain a big part of our DNA.”
Bielsa came under increasing criticism as his side lost five of their previous six league matches for stubbornly retaining a man-to-man marking system that Premier League rivals had ruthlessly exposed.
Marsch said he would be “certainly getting away from the man-marking”, adding: “Also with the ball, creating tactics that don’t expose us to transition moments as much.”
The former Ivy League graduate – Marsch gained a history degree at Princeton University – said his new charges were quick learners.
“I can say it’s an intelligent group, they can understand and put into practice,” he said.
“I told them (on Wednesday) after training, some of the things that we did in training, I’d worked with teams for six months and they didn’t perform the topics on the pitch as well as this group had done. That’s a very positive sign.”
Marsch, whose previous managerial role lasted just 17 matches at Leipzig, has 12 games left to extend Leeds’ top-flight return beyond two seasons and insisted he had not inherited a squad low on confidence.
He said: “I honestly didn’t feel it because the young men are so energetic, positive, also united. It’s a group you can tell has already been through a lot.
“My focus is how to help them channel those energies to make them better. I know it’s a big opportunity.
“I know there are factions of people who may not accept me so well because of their love for Marcelo.
“In the end, I just want the team to show how good they are and to show that as good as Marcelo is and was, that the team is good too, and the players are good. That will be a lot of my focus to help these guys express themselves.”
Marsch confirmed defender Diego Llorente was an injury doubt, but said Patrick Bamford could return to contention after being sidelined since December with a foot injury.
“Can he be on the bench or does he need a few more days?” Marsch added. “He’s close, I can tell you that, he’s close.”