Former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino has been impressed with the ‘confident and commanding’ nature of Leeds United keeper Illan Meslier.

The Frenchman looked shaky at the start of the season, but Marcelo Bielsa has trusted in him and is now seeing him enjoy his best spell between the sticks for the club.

Not only has Meslier been vital in Leeds building from the back, but he has also made a number of top saves to bail the side out of tough situations.

The Whites have conceded just seven in their last eight games, which has seen them sit 10th place on the Premier League.

In an interview with The Times Cascarino said, “Illan Meslier, the goalkeeper, is looking more confident and commanding with every match and the team now defend with a more cohesive structure.

“It is clear that the players fully buy into what Bielsa is trying to achieve. How often do you see mid-table teams take their foot off the pedal at this stage of the season when they have nothing to play for?

“There is no way a player in a Bielsa team could be on the beach.”

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Defensive improvements for all to see

Having all of our centre-backs fit and available for selection isn’t a luxury Bielsa has had on too many occasions this season.

Because of the reckless nature of this campaign, we’ve missed out on a regular defensive pairing for the majority of our games.

That uncertainty has led to us conceding many avoidable goals, for most of which Meslier took the blame.

However, now everyone has started to see his importance, and also Bielsa’s man-to-man + 1 style of defending.

Even when we went down to ten men against City, the belief was that we would easily capitulate and be on the wrong end of a drubbing.

But we sat deep, forced the ball out wide, pressed once we felt a counter-attack was on, and eventually scored the winning goal.

Hopefully, this changes the perceptions of Bielsa and the Leeds team on social media.

In other Leeds news, Phil Hay: Leeds handed huge fitness boost – Bielsa will be absolutely buzzing

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