LEEDS, England (AP)Leeds striker Patrick Bamford says caretaker manager Michael Skubala has ”taken the pressure away” following the firing of Jesse Marsch.

Skubala has overseen a draw and loss – both against Manchester United – since Marsch was fired on Feb. 6 with Leeds hovering just above the relegation zone.

Bamford told BBC Radio in an interview published Friday that the atmosphere ”was always good” under Marsch but that Skubala has instilled a sense of calm.

”Not to the point where you can get away with unnecessary things but he’s just kind of taken the pressure away,” the striker said ahead of Leeds’ game at Everton on Saturday.

Bamford, who has scored one goal in 15 league appearances this season, heard criticism following his comments about Leeds’ tactics in the 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest that proved to be the American coach’s last game in charge.

Bamford had said teammates weren’t making runs to create space and it left him alone to challenge defenders. He told the BBC he wasn’t ”having a go” at Marsch.

”What I said was exactly what he told us to do, we just weren’t doing it. I was actually kind of being self-deprecating toward my performance,” he said.

Bamford texted the American with regrets after the firing.

”I was never really fully fit under him,” Bamford said. ”I texted him after we heard the news and said pretty much that. I actually got on well with him.”

Leeds confirmed this week that the 40-year-old Skubala, an Englishman who had been coach of the club’s youth squad, will continue to lead the team while they search for Marsch’s successor.

”The fact that he got us so organized against Manchester United in the two games in the way that we set up, especially the home game we looked really good, I think that’s just made obviously the board more confident but I think that’s just put an extreme amount of confidence from his players in him,” Bamford said.

Skubala’s calm personality hasn’t changed since taking over, Bamford said.

”He’s remained true to himself,” he said. ”The lads love him.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports