'It was one of the best saves of my career' - Leeds United's llan Meslier on season highlight, 'big six' record and Brighton clash

Illan Meslier believes Leeds United have shown their Premier League rivals that they're in for a fight when they come to Elland Road.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 9:07 pm
HOME COMFORT - Illan Meslier and Leeds United have remained unbeaten at Elland Road against 'big six' clubs this season in the Premier League. Pic: Getty

The Whites' unbeaten home streak against 'big six' clubs was stretched to five games with Sunday's 0-0 draw with Manchester United.

Manchester City Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea have all also failed to take three points from their visits to the newly-promoted side this season, with only Tottenham Hotspur left to come of that particular group of clubs.

Goalkeeper Meslier, who was delighted to keep a clean sheet against Manchester United at the weekend, says Leeds have proven they are a tough act to beat on home turf.

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"All the draws were at Elland Road, so if you want to come here to Elland Road you have to play well, it's not easy, each game is a big fight and you need to be better than us," he told BBC Leeds.

"All the big six, the big clubs arrived here and didn't lose but they didn't win."

Although the defensive work of Kalvin Phillips, Diego Llorente and Pascal Struijk was instrumental in keeping Manchester United out, Meslier had a big hand in the clean sheet too.

His diving save from a fierce Marcus Rashford free-kick was another one for an already impressive 2020/21 highlight reel.

"I didn't see the ball because there was another wall from Manchester United, I saw the ball only when the players put their head down," he said.

"I made one step and used the opposite hand to save. The trajectory of the ball was difficult, it moved, with power.

"During the game it's natural to make this kind of save, you don't have time to reflect, it's natural."

The French 21-year-old has been one of the busiest keepers in Europe's top five leagues this season, producing a number of memorable stops to help Leeds climb to ninth in the Premier League.

His favourite came early on in the campaign against Sheffield United.

He produced a wonderful stop from John Lundstram, who arrived unmarked in the box to meet a cross and fire it back across goal only for Meslier to palm it wide.

"It was at Sheffield United, in the first half when I saved close to the post," he said.

"That's the most important for me because it was one of the best saves of my career. That moment I said okay you can do these saves so you have the capacity to make this save again, keep going."

Meslier and Leeds travel to Brighton on Saturday, unbeaten in six but hoping to follow draws against Liverpool and Manchester United with victory.

"Of course it's not like Liverpool, Manchester City or Manchester United but we have a lot of respect for them," he said.

"We need to play well, we want to win all the time."