'Blame The Coaches' - Exclusive: McLeish digs at Bielsa for Leeds youngster's troubles
Alex McLeish has insisted the Leeds United coaches are to blame after Illan Meslier’s mistake against Tottenham last weekend.
The former Rangers and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, launched a staunch defence of the 20-year-old and insisted he was simply doing what he had been instructed by Marcelo Bielsa and his backroom staff.
The shot-stopper has come under fire after a loose pass out from the back found a Tottenham player and led to Ezgjan Alioski committing a foul in the penalty box.
Harry Kane dutifully stepped up to net his 10th Premier League goal of the season and kick off the scoring in a 3-0 win for the Lilywhites.
Speaking after the game, as quoted by Leeds Live, Bielsa was full of praise for the young shot-stopper and insisted he was happy with the way the Frenchman was playing with the ball at his feet.
McLeish has insisted Meslier is simply the latest in a long line of goalkeepers who are still adapting their game and that if anyone is to blame, it is the coaching staff.
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Asked if the shot-stopper’s inexperience was starting to show through after the Spurs game, McLeish told Football Insider: “I believe that the manager and the coaches will take the responsibility for that – they’ve asked him to do that, they have asked the defenders to be available for him to pass it.
“He’s just got to get better at it. It’s happened to a lot of young goalkeepers in the past, we’ve seen them making mistakes, even some of the most experienced have been caught with a centre-forward closing them down, blocking it and the ball going in the net.
“We’ve seen it with them all so if he is going to be a top goalkeeper, he needs to be capable with the ball his feet and I’m sure that Bielsa would not stop him trying to pass the ball out, he’s just going to do better or else he’ll get replaced by somebody who can do it better.
“Bielsa’s now got to place trust in the guy because he is amongst a few big names who have already made those mistakes as well.
“Right now that’s what he’s going with, he’s encouraged the boy to do the passing out – in many ways, you could blame the coaches for asking him to do that.”