Jesse Marsch lamented the way the absence of a Premier League salary cap limits Leeds United's ambitions ahead of their trip to top-four contenders Newcastle United.
Leeds sit just two points clear of the relegation zone after Wednesday's 3-1 defeat to Manchester City, while their next opponents are third after enjoying an 11-match unbeaten run (W8 D3).
Newcastle have been rejuvenated since a 2021 takeover led by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, staving off the threat of relegation last season following the January arrivals of Bruno Guimaraes, Kieran Tripper and others.
The Magpies then broke their transfer record with a £60million (€71.1m) move for Alexander Isak in August, while Leeds turned a profit in the last transfer window after selling Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips.
Marsch – who spent his entire playing career with Major League Soccer teams, who adhere to a strict salary cap – discussed Leeds' financial disadvantage ahead of Saturday's game.
"We all know in this world of football it's something that's different from American sports," Marsch said at Friday's pre-match press conference.
"We [in the United States] have salary caps and everyone has a chance when the season starts. I'm sorry, but the way European football works, that's just not the case.
"I would love to say we want to win every match and we are in a position to do that. But we know in the reality of who we are right now, that is not realistic.
"I know we are tasked in this league to compete with teams such as Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, but our true competitors are the mid-table, bottom-of-the-table teams.
"That's the reality and there's a bunch of us in this same category. It's not just about money, but certainly it's a factor."
While Marsch was keen to credit the fine work done by Eddie Howe at St James' Park, he acknowledged Leeds are forced to conduct their business in a different way.
"I don't want to slight Newcastle at all, financially," Marsch said. "They have done a great job regardless, and it [money] can make things easier, but that's not the only job.
"Take Chelsea 25 years ago, take Newcastle now, take Man City 15 years ago. It's a difference-maker for every phase of what you are doing as a club; manager, players, everything.
"But we like us. We like who we are, we like our identity, we like the mentality that we have created. We are going to keep building in our own way."