American coach Chris Armas looks set to be given the chance to exact revenge on Manchester United this week, as he takes interim charge of Leeds in the wake of Jesse Marsch’s sacking.
Armas was hired as an assistant coach under Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford from December 2021 to May 2022, but his five months at the club were marred by reports that players had brutally dubbed him ‘Ted Lasso’ behind his back.
He joined Leeds last month as an assistant to his countryman Marsch, but now appears set to be thrust into the spotlight in the wake of Marsch’s sacking.
Armas has kept his job amid the firing spree at Elland Road, and is now set to lead the team into back-to-back games against Manchester United, the first of which on Wednesday night at Old Trafford.
Armas was a player for the likes of LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire in MLS during his career, before he earned his first top managerial role with New York Red Bulls and then Toronto FC in the same league.
His role under Rangnick at Manchester United was his first outside America, leading to comparisons with the hapless Apple TV character Lasso.
In the show, Lasso is an American football coach given the chance to take over at Premier League side AFC Richmond, and he has to learn the rules along the way.
Reports from his time at United claimed that Armas was the butt of the jokes in the locker room, with players comparing his methods to that of Lasso.
Speaking at the time, former United States international Herculez Gomez said of the rumors: ‘It is a low blow and a very cheap shot. The fact that Chris Armas is American does play a factor in this.
‘They are still trying to garner respect worldwide. It’s a reality. It’s not a footballing nation, or a proper footballing nation in their eyes. But that’s all it is.
‘Chris Armas can do one of two things – he can pack up and go home or he needs to change the way they feel about him, the way they look at him, and make them respect him. Either way, it’s a situation you can’t ignore.’
At Manchester United, Armas was unable to do the latter, but he will now be given a chance in the Leeds dugout.
Unless a new manager is appointed by Wednesday, Armas looks set to lead the team out at Old Trafford on Wednesday, and then again at Elland Road against the same opposition on Sunday.
As it stands, Leeds are hovering precariously above the relegation zone in the Premier League, level on points with Everton below them, albeit with a game in hand.
Their winless run was extended to seven matches with a 1-0 defeat by Nottingham Forest on Saturday, which was the final nail in Marsch’s managerial coffin.