The demise of Raphinha’s strong earlier season form has coincided with Leeds United’s struggles in the Premier League.
He was involved in 10 goals in his first 18 games of the campaign but has contributed with just one goal in the seven since, a run of games that has yielded just one point.
The 25-year-old struggled to have his usual influence in Jesse Marsch’s first match, the 1-0 defeat at Leicester, and the new Whites boss addressed the situation.
When asked how he could the best out of Raphinha in his pre-Aston Villa press conference, he said: “I think making him clear with what the tactics are and what we want from him in different moments with and without the ball.
“And having him be aggressive and confident in one v one situations and transition moments, have him be explosive and, and use his ability to run and sprint and do that over and over again, he’s one of the most fit players on the team.
“And then for the team to understand how to find him, how to use him, how to really help support him so that he can be all the things that we know he can and help us find goals and assists and be aggressive.”
Raphinha seems to be one of the leaders amongst the dressing room at Elland Road and Marsch explained a couple of things he has been doing to help overturn his side’s poor recent form.
“What I like about him is I called on him in one of the meetings this week and he spoke English in front of the group and he did it in a confident way,” added the American.
“He also has come to us several times and said ‘I like to do this on set pieces. I’d like to do this when I’m in this parts of the field’. And so I like that he’s assertive.
“I like that he’s confident and we’re going to use that to help us continue to find results as a team.”
The clash with Aston Villa this evening provides the Brazil international with the perfect opportunity to show his world-class best for Leeds.
With Patrick Bamford returning imminently as well as Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips in the next few weeks, there will be less pressure on Raphinha to dig his side out of trouble but he must show what he has shown so many times between now and the end of the season.
He is undoubtedly the most technically gifted player in the side and Marsch could really do with him starting to show that immediately.