Soccer-Leeds boss Bielsa defends goalkeeper Meslier after Spurs defeat

·2-min read
Premier League - Leeds United v Burnley

(Reuters) - Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has defended goalkeeper Illan Meslier after the Frenchman suffered a nightmare game in the 3-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Spurs' opener came from a wayward pass from Meslier, which was picked off by Harry Winks before Ezgjan Alioski clipped Steven Bergwijn inside the penalty area. Harry Kane converted the spot-kick.

Meslier then fumbled Toby Alderweireld's header over the line in the second-half following a Son Heung-min corner kick.

It was an uncharacteristic performance from the Frenchman, who has been a standout player for the team this season. Bielsa said the 20-year-old should not be judged on the basis of one game.

"What we have to look at is how the goalkeeper performs in all the fixtures, not in one game," Bielsa told reporters. "It was an undeniable error but if you look back at all our games you will see how efficient Illan is with his feet."

Leeds enjoyed a far larger share of possession and created several goal-scoring opportunities, but were made to pay for their profligacy and attempts to play out from the back.

"We had a good offensive production. Our opponents created only a few more chances than us which came about through errors that we could have avoided," Bielsa said.

"We lost some balls when we were building up from the back. We weren't winning the second balls. The fundamental difference was the efficiency, and the fact their offensive game came about through errors that we could have avoided."

The result left Leeds in 12th spot in the Premier League with 23 points from 17 games. They visit League Two (fourth-tier) side Crawley in the FA Cup on Sunday.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru: Editing by Neil Fullick)