Jesse Marsch and his Salzburg side thrive in an area where Celtic are weakest

By Euan Davidson

March 17, 2021

We’re not sure if you heard, but Jesse Marsch to Celtic chat is dominating headlines this morning.

Marsch has excitedly talked up the possibility of managing Celtic. The RB Salzburg manager told the BBC: “It’s an amazing club and it would be an honour to even be considered.”

That’s more than enough for the Hoops faithful to get excited, and rightly so. The American manager is a former MLS Manager of the Year, and double winner with Salzburg as recently as 19-20. He’s also impressed in Europe, having brought through talents like Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more fashionable manager on the continent right now.

However, what’s particularly interesting is Marsch’s approach. His sides are aggressive in and out of possession, and the former Montreal boss is particularly focussed on working the ball into the box. That’s good news for Celtic, who only take half of their shots from within 18 yards [WhoScored?].

In fact, his Salzburg side average the highest number of shots within the box for the entire Champions League. More than Barcelona, Bayern Munich, anyone.

Erling Haaland and Jesse Marsch / (Photo by Markus Tobisch/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

Clinical shooting is a problem for Celtic, Jesse Marsch could address this problem

Celtic, according to the same stat, take 45% of their shots from outside the box. How many times have you watched the Bhoys plod around, before someone takes a speculative punt that ends up in Row ZZ this season? It’s been incredibly frustrating to watch.

For all Edouard has had his critics this season, service has been an issue. With changing formations and tactical approaches, he’s getting fewer opportunities from within 18 yards than ever before. That’s an issue, and it’s heartening to know that the manager who leads continental competition for shots within the box is interested in becoming Celtic manager.

It might seem small-fry, stat-nerd stuff. But this is a real thing: Marsch’s sides are prolific in terms of creating and taking chances from close range. That’s match-winning stuff, and it’s a problem area for Celtic.

While our strikers have been profligate, it’d be much easier for them to work in a system based around chance creation. At the moment, our play is stodgy; moments of individual talent have saved us far too often. Think of Turnbull’s goal against Aberdeen for a prime example.

So, add this to the list of reasons why Celtic supporters can get excited about Jesse Marsch.

READ MORE: Another managerial candidate refuses to let speculation die.