Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has pondered the chances of Huddersfield Town targeting young goalkeeper Illan Meslier as a weak link in our title-hopeful Championship side during Saturday’s clash at Elland Road.
Danny Cowley’s Huddersfield visit our home this weekend looking to extend their winning record on the road over us, having won 4-1 and 1-0 in their two most recent visits and last losing at Elland Road on September 20, 2014.
We snapped their perfect recent record against us on our travels to the John Smith’s Stadium in December by taking a 2-0 win, which was our first three points taken against our West Yorkshire rivals since November 2015 – partly as a result of their promotion in the Premier League.
A win this weekend for Bielsa’s Whites would do our hopes of top-flight football the world of good, with one point all that separates us from second-tier leaders West Bromwich Albion while Fulham in third are five points down on the automatic places.
Bielsa was asked during his pre-game press conference if he fears Huddersfield will target Meslier in Saturday’s clash, with the 20-year-old Frenchman on course for his second successive league start thanks to Kiko Casilla’s FA ban.
“Maybe it is an option,” Bielsa said, via quotes by the Yorkshire Evening Post. “But I am not sure that one team makes a strategy regarding the keeper, if he is young or new in the squad.
Are you confident in Meslier's potential?
“As a manager, I don’t have those ideas to think in that one strategy like using one strategy about the other keeper.
“As manager, you consider if he has good aerial play, if it is difficult for him, the driven shot. I understand the question but I don’t think like that.”
Meslier has featured twice for United since joining on loan from FC Lorient last summer, with an outing in the FA Cup against Premier League Arsenal and last weekend’s 4-0 Championship win away to Hull.
The Tigers produced eight shots during the KCOM Stadium affair but Meslier denied our hosts a goal with two saves from two shots faced, while making two high claims and was never forced into running out from his post or punching away danger, per Sofa Score data.
Huddersfield would be forgiven for trying their luck in the early stages this weekend to see if they could do a number on Meslier, but his performance last week should offer enough reasons to be confident that he can withstand much – if not all – of what the Terriers try.