Illan Meslier opens up on Kristoffer Klaesson impact and eyes moment when Leeds United season can click

Illan Meslier has hailed the impact of new no 2 goalkeeper Kristoffer Klaesson and believes Leeds United's season could be about to "click".

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 12:48 pm

Norway under-21s stopper Klaesson joined Leeds in July from Valerenga to become Meslier's new competition for the no 1 jersey following Kiko Casilla's switch to Elche earlier that month.

Meslier says the new recruit has helped take his own game to a higher level and is optimistic that Leeds can now finally bag their first win of the new Premier League campaign in Saturday's clash against Watford at Elland Road.

"He's a good team mate," said Meslier, asked about Klaesson in an interview with BBC Radio Leeds.

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OPTIMISTIC: Leeds United's no 1 goalkeeper Illan Meslier. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images.

"I needed him to keep up my progress because sometimes it is not too easy when you have nothing behind you, it can be difficult to come in every day and keep training hard.

"But when you have people who help you to train, to keep pushing you, then it's better and it's maybe because of this that I have made some good saves.

"In training I try to push him and he pushes me.

"We have a good relationship, he's a good guy and I am happy to train with him."

Meslier produced several impressive saves during last weekend's home clash against West Ham, particularly during the opening stages as part of a strong start from David Moyes' side.

Leeds then went ahead through Raphinha's strike in the 19th minute but the Whites were unable to add to their tally despite creating good chances.

Those missed opportunities then proved costly as the Hammers went on to equalise through a Junior Firpo own goal from a Jarrod Bowen strike which left Meslier helpless.

The Whites 'keeper was then beaten for a second time in the final minute as Michail Antonio broke clear before firing home a dramatic late winner.

"We have to score more to kill the game but I think everybody knows this," said Meslier.

"We have to score more and in defence we have to be stronger to avoid any occasions where I get shots.

"But you can't stop all of the shots so it's normal that I am here to try to protect my goal."

The defeat left Leeds third-bottom and on just three points from their first six games but Meslier is feeling upbeat ahead of Saturday's clash against 12th-placed Watford at Elland Road.

The contest will mark United's final game before the October international break and Meslier believes a victory could act as the perfect springboard for the rest of the campaign.

Asked if he was feeling confident that three points could be on the way against the Hornets, Meslier reasoned: "Of course.

"We need confidence and we need to win this game because I think this is a good moment to try and win this game in front of our fans before the international break.

"If we win then we will come back and it will be good for the rest of the players.

"I think the first win could be like the click for the rest of the season."

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Thank you Laura Collins