Marcelo Bielsa lauds Leeds United bravery at Brentford, addresses Kiko Casilla situation

Marcelo Bielsa felt his Leeds United showed real bravery in a game they were accused of fearing beforehand by Brentford boss Thomas Frank.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 10:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 10:54 pm

The Bees head coach used his pre-game press conference to suggest the Whites couldn't pick a worse ground to come to on Tuesday night, yet they left London with a 1-1 draw having arguably deserved more.

Bielsa, who insisted Leeds were actually better in Saturday's defeat by Nottingham Forest, was still full of praise for their effort levels.

"We defended well," said the Argentine.

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"It was difficult to attack, even though we attacked all the match. The players left everything on the pitch, we managed the ball as well and this is not easy against a team like Brentford who have good players and manage the ball as well."

The Bees took the lead with a calamitous error from Kiko Casilla, already under fire for recent performances and costly mistakes.

Bielsa refrained from criticising his keeper and believes the squad will back him too.

"I don't think that Kiko needs my words because I always support him with decisions," he said.

Marcelo Bielsa felt his Leeds United side showed bravery, in a game they were predicted to fear by Brentford boss Thomas Frank, right (Pic: Bruce Rollinson)

"Because I know the human qualities of the players of Leeds, I think Casilla will receive support from his team-mates and not a loss of confidence from them."

On Frank's pre-game mind-games, Bielsa said his players had answered the question with their performance.

"Maybe he thought this could be our attitude to play tonight but during the match we always took risks," he said.

"Our full-backs attacked all the time and you have to think that they had three very good attackers. That means the opposite to fear to play here. That means we want to win the match, taking risks."

The return of Kalvin Phillips saw him dominate in the middle of the park, on and off the ball, and Bielsa recognised his contribution.

But the 24-year-old wasn't alone in impressing the boss.

"I cannot say exactly that [Phillips was at his very best] because I don't have in mind all the good matches he's had, but he was a player with impact in the game tonight," he said.

"[Mateusz] Klich played very well, Pablo managed the ball a lot, the centre-backs were securing their passes very well and the wingers and full-backs controlled their sides. We had a lot of minutes of possession, we thought that we could have had more chances with all the minutes of possession we had. But it was a narrow match with few chances for both sides."