BBC pundit Noel Whelan has ripped into Kiko Casilla for his recent form, in a brutal verdict of the Leeds United goalkeeper’s latest performances.
Whelan feels Casilla has been letting himself down since we faced Cardiff City on December 14, a game we held a 3-0 lead in only to settle for a point after the Bluebirds hit two goals in the final eight minutes.
Since then, our poor form continued as we lost to Fulham and drew with Preston North End, before taking our first win since December 10 when we played out a crazy ninety minutes with Birmingham City to end 2019 atop the Championship table.
New Year’s Day saw Marcelo Bielsa guide the club into the Hawthorns to face promotion rivals West Bromwich Albion, and unfortunately for Casilla, the £2.7million-rated ‘keeper was partly at fault as the Baggies opened the scoring.
It was the latest in a string of blunders from the 33-year-old shot-stopper, errors that Whelan would not expect from an Under 23s player.
“He’s not covered himself in glory, starting from the Cardiff game,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“We saw him again, I don’t know how to put it into words without being too disrespectful – they’re schoolboy errors, you shouldn’t be expecting that from a Real Madrid number two over his career.
“I know everyone’s prone to mistakes, but these are really bad mistakes and ones you wouldn’t expect to see at Under 23 levels at times.
“His decision making and quality has got to be so much better. I’m not sure if it’s the Christmas period, but I think he’ll be the first to admit he can do better in situations like this, and he should be expecting better from himself.”
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Casilla had been in terrific form for much of the league campaign, having taken 12 clean sheets in 21 games, but has been forced to pick the ball out of his net at least once in our last five second-tier fixtures.
That run of five games began against Cardiff when Lee Tomlin fired home into an empty net to pull one back, after Casilla left his post and misjudged a cross.
Casilla made a brilliant save to deny Fulham’s Ivan Cavaleiro a long-range hit at Craven Cottage, but was unable to do anything about Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty or Josh Onomah’s second-half winner.
Casilla’s misjudgement against Birmingham also allowed Jeremy Bela to head home an 83rd-minute equaliser, but it was, thankfully, not the last goal of the game.
In other Leeds United news, Bielsa is concerned that the club’s failures with Eddie Nketiah could haunt our future striker pursuits.