Marcelo Bielsa: Players not losing confidence in Kiko Casilla despite error that costs Leeds United victory at Brentford

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Relieved Leeds United remained in the top two in the Championship after they recovered from a goalkeeping blunder by under pressure Kiko Casilla to earn their first point in London this season.

Away to Brentford has not been good for the Whites in recent years with a 70-year wait for a win at the Griffin Park venue and they looked in danger of another loss when gifting their hosts the opening goal on 25 minutes.

But skipper Liam Cooper came to the rescue with a goal from a corner before half-time and United earned a 1-1 draw that kept them in second place for 24 hours at least with another of their rivals, Nottingham Forest, losing at home to Charlton.

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There was no doubt that Leeds were good value for their point as they defended well all over the pitch and did not allow a skilful Brentford side to show off any of their skills with a pressing game that was back to good order after a blip at Forest.

Liam Cooper celebrates his goal against Brentford with Kalvin Phillips. Picture: Bruce RollinsonLiam Cooper celebrates his goal against Brentford with Kalvin Phillips. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Liam Cooper celebrates his goal against Brentford with Kalvin Phillips. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

The Bees are rarely dominated in possession terms as they were in this game, but the same old failing once again held Marcelo Bielsa's men back with Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa missing good chances and too many other opportunities wasted with poor crosses and final passes.

Bielsa was pleased with the way his team defended against good opposition, but felt his players could have used the ball better in attacking positions.

He said: "We defended well. The players left everything on the pitch.

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"We controlled well their attackers, we managed the ball as well and this is not easy against a team like Brentford that have good players and also manage the ball well.

"Kalvin Phillips had an impact in the team. Klich played very well and Pablo (Hernandez) managed the ball a lot. The centre-backs secured their passes very well.

"We thought we could have had more chances with all the minutes of possession we had, but it was a close match with few chances.

"I think that the team played better on Saturday. In both matches we defended very well and created few chances, but against Nottingahm we had more attacks than tonight.

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"Throughout the match we always took risks, our full-backs attacked all the time and you have to think that they have three very good attackers and that meant the opposite of fear to play here.

On goalkeeper Casilla, who made an error for Brentford's goal, Bielsa added: "I don't think Kiko needs my word because I always support him with decisions.

"Because i know the human quality of the Leeds players I think that he will receive support from his teammates and there will be no loss of confidence from them."

Leeds looked fired up for a big performance early on as they soon swamped their opponents and had the first two sniffs of goal with Harrison going on a good run into the box only to finish it off with a weak shot that was easily saved and Luke Ayling's header bringing another save from David Raya.

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All the good early work was undone in the 25th minute when Casilla miscontrolled a routine pass back from Cooper and slipped as he tried to make amends, leaving Said Benrahma with an open goal to score.

Leeds showed strength of character to hit back, however, and after Pablo Hernandez saw a volley saved they equalised. This time it was home keeper Raya was made a mistake as he flapped at a Harrison corner and there to stab in from close range was Cooper.

Costa had a difficult chance to put the Whites ahead before half-time, but could only send a header from a tough angle over following a fine cross from Stuart Dallas, who was back in his left-back role.

Into the second half the United domination continued with Ayling's volley easily saved and Bamford heading well over from an Ayling cross that picked him out in the box, but had plenty of power on it.

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The best chance of the second half fell to Costa after he had combined superbly with Mateusz Klich down the right, but he could only shoot tamely straight to Raya.

Brentford did not manage a single worthwhile effort in the whole of the second half and the chances became more scarce for Leeds after Bamford shot well over after meeting a low Harrison cross on the edge of the area.

The game was broken up with injuries and did not finish with a flourish with perhaps both teams mindful of the fact that a draw was a decent result. Hernandez did see a long range shot deflected over, but that was that and a point apiece it was to be.

Match facts

Brentford 1

(Benrahma 25)

(Cooper 38)


Attendance: 12,294

Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jeanvier, Pinnock, Henry; Norgaard, Jensen (Fosu-Henry 89), Dasilva (Marcondes 63); Mbeumo (Baptiste 89), Benrahma, Watkins.

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Subs: Daniels, Valencia, Marcondes, Fosu, Baptiste, Racic, Roerslev

Leeds: Casilla; Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Costa, Klich, Hernandez, Harrison; Bamford (Augustin 76).

Referee: Robert Jones.