By David Woods

2nd Jan, 2020 | 11:48am

Bilic praises one Leeds player for match-turning moment in clash v West Brom

The clash at The Hawthorns was hyped massively, first v second, with the chance to go clear at the top as reward.

In the end the spoils were shared and on reflection it was a fair result that both managers seemed happy with it.

There were chances to win it from both sides and Leeds will be especially pleased at how they controlled the second half after West Brom came out on top in the first 45 minutes.

Talking in his post-match press conference, Slaven Bilic pointed to the moment his side could have won it.

Matty Phillips was through on goal with only Kiko Casilla to beat, late on in the first half.

Casilla stayed upright for long enough and made the vital save with his legs, keeping the score at 1-0.

Talking after the game, as quoted in the Times, Bilic name-checked Casilla as the player who kept Leeds in the match.

“It was a great chance,” Bilic said. “If there’s one player you want [in that situation] it’s Matt Phillips. It was all there, but you have to praise the goalkeeper for a great save.”

It was a big moment for Casilla, who was partly to blame for the early West Brom goal after an ineffective punch left the ball in the Leeds six-yard box.

Bilic was also effusive about Marcelo Bielsa after the two managers had shared a warm embrace on the touchline after the game.

It’s obvious there’s a lot of respect between the two managers and Bilic said of his counterpart afterwards: “I rate myself and am quite a confident guy but Bielsa is Bielsa. It is a privilege to compete with him.”

On the evidence of last night, both managers will get a chance to compete again in the Premier League next season.

Leeds United stayed top with the point but only on goal difference. There’s a nine-point gap back to Brentford in third.

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