Marcelo Bielsa won’t reveal reason behind Kiko Casilla’s absence at West Ham

Mark Walker, PA
·2-min read

Marcelo Bielsa says his decisions on team selection are private after leaving goalkeeper Kiko Casilla out of his squad for the defeat at West Ham.

Casilla has been back-up for Illan Meslier after losing his starting place to the young Frenchman last season, but on Monday night Italian teenager Elia Caprile was named on the bench.

“When I make a decision for the presence or absence of a player, I don’t explain the motives,” Bielsa said.

“What I do say is the truth. If it’s because of injury, then I say it’s because of injury.

“In the case of Casilla and Caprile, of course I value Caprile. I also know the difference between one and the other.”

Bielsa confirmed in his post-match press conference at the London Stadium that former Real Madrid keeper Casilla, who was first choice after signing a four-and-a-half-year deal at Elland Road in January 2019, had been available.

“What I said to explain Casilla’s absence, was that he was not injured and I decided that he would not participate,” Bielsa said. “I think what I said is true and sufficient.”

After the game Casilla, 34, posted a cryptic message on Instagram suggesting he was considering his future, but later denied it was in connection with the club.

Leeds, nine points above the relegation zone, face Chelsea at home on Saturday when they aim to become the first side to topple the Blues in 12 games under Thomas Tuchel.

Bielsa’s side have lost five of their last seven league matches, but in each of those defeats, including last month’s 4-2 loss at Arsenal, they had spells in the ascendancy and created plenty of chances.

“In general lines, our offensive performances are positive because we create danger,” Bielsa added. “The opposite happens in the defensive half.

“All of our individual players from defensive midfielder down have good performances, but despite this we concede a lot of goals.

“In the three aspects I tell you – possession danger, danger efficiency and good individual performances and defensive output – they are all within the things I manage and haven’t been able to resolve. Especially with the subject of receiving so many goals.”