Triple boost for Leeds as Bielsa outlines huge trust in under-fire Leeds star

Marcelo Bielsa

Marcelo Bielsa is adamant that much-derided Spanish goalkeeper Kiko Casilla still retains the trust and support of the Leeds coaching staff and players.

The goalkeeper moved to Leeds two years ago this month in a high-profile signing from Real Madrid.

However, after a catalogue of errors, Casilla has lost his place this season to French youngster Illan Meslier.

A well-publicised ban for racist language has also not helped Casilla’s cause.

And his return to the side did not go well last Sunday either as Casilla and Leeds suffered a 3-0 FA Cup humilation at Crawley.

Speculation has since arisen that Leeds could look to sell the Spaniard this month.

However, Bielsa insists all at Leeds are fully behind the Spanish custodian.

“No, I fully trust in Kiko,” Bielsa said in his press briefing ahead of Saturday’s game with Brighton.

“I will do the utmost possible to help him. I think that the treatment Kiko has suffered ignores the fact that he is a player who played 40 games for Real Madrid.

“Apart from whether his performances were good or bad, we forget all the thing he has done to get the team promoted. People also don’t consider how he’s being treated publicly given the situation that he had to go through when he was suspended for eight games.”

Bielsa added: “I believe in him, his team-mates believe in him and we are close to him. We value him as a person and a footballer.

“We accept what people think of him in the media. But we know his past and we know his conditions and we care about him a lot as a human being.”

Subscribe for free to TEAMtalk’s daily newsletter…

Triple Leeds injury boost

Leeds can move 12 points clear of Brighton with a win on Saturday at Elland Road.

The Whites will come face to face with former loan star Ben White. He did as much as anyone to secure their promotion and Leeds’ efforts to sign him this summer were evident.

Asked for his opinion on how he has fared in the Premier League, Bielsa said: “He has proved himself a Premier League player.”

Leeds have looked short at ther back in recent weeks after a string of injuries.

However, they will be able to call upon Diego Llorente and captain Liam Cooper against the Seagulls. Forward Tyler Roberts also returns after being reassured of his importance to Leeds.

United, however, will be without suspended midfielder Kalvin Phillips. He sits out a one-match ban with Pascal Struijk coming into midfield. Llorente is likely to partner Cooper in the heart of defence.

READ MORE: Leeds chase goal-hungry Serie A striker