Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa took an opportunity to defend Kiko Casilla in his press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with Brighton.
The goalkeeper received significant criticism from fans after his performance against Crawley, leading to questions from the press about whether Bielsa still trusts the 31-year-old.
Casilla ranks behind Illan Meslier in the pecking order this season, but a mistake against Tottenham the previous week led to a discussion about who should be number one.
As far as Bielsa is concerned, such discourse is out of order, and he believes such questions from the media have proved to be out of touch.
Speaking on Thursday, the Argentine said, “A player like Casilla, who has had 40 games for Real Madrid on of the biggest clubs in the world, and whether he can be replaced by someone who has never had one minute in the first team.
“What this question is looking for is to merely humiliate Casilla.
“One day Meslier, who is 20 years old, gives a bad pass and it results in a goal and whether it was a good idea to replace this 20-year-old and put an experienced player in like Casilla, and in the next day the question is if a 19-year-old (Elias Caprile) who hasn’t had any minutes is going to be in goal because I might have lost confidence in Casilla.
“I fully trust in Kiko. I will do my utmost to help him.”
Creating a divide
Bielsa is clearly being stubborn in his stance on Casilla, and refusing to criticise the Spaniard even though he was clearly at fault last Sunday.
He may be correct in his view that questioning the goalkeeping situation does no help, but he risks splitting the fanbase.
The Athletic’s Phil Hay tweeted about a “clash of views” amongst supporters following Bielsa’s comments, and it is easy to see why he has reached that conclusion.
There are many who want Casilla gone, and since the young Meslier is already ahead of him we understand that view.
Overall, the trust in Meslier is paying off, and the Frenchman should only get better as his Premier League experience grows.
It is important fans and the media alike stick behind the 20-year-old even when he does make errors that lead to goals, like at Tottenham.
Considering what Bielsa has done at this club, the least we can do is trust his judgement.
In other Leeds United news, many fans have responded angrily to a major update from Phil Hay.