Whelan: Bielsa likely to hold clear-the-air talks with Meslier at Leeds

Noel Whelan is baffled by Marcelo Bielsa’s “really harsh” decision to leave Illan Meslier out of the Leeds United starting XI on the final day of the season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Whites and Middlesbrough striker said talks will have taken place between Bielsa and Meslier regarding team selection in the build-up to the visit of West Brom.

Kiko Casilla started the 3-1 win over the Baggies at Elland Road in what was just his third Premier League appearance of the 2020-21 campaign.


Marcelo Bielsa’s decision to start the Spanish shot-stopper in the final two games of the season came as a surprise given Meslier’s success up to that point.

The France Under-21 international has been excelling between the sticks and only Sam Johnstone and Aaron Ramsdale saved more shots in Europe’s top five leagues. (Wyscout)

When asked by Football Insider for his thoughts on Bielsa’s decision, Whelan said:

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“Meslier deserved to play, there is absolutely no doubt about that in my mind. It is really harsh on him to not get to play in front of the fans after the season he has had. He’s been brilliant.

“Bielsa will have sat down and spoken to him regarding the decision before the game. He is a level-headed player so I think he will have taken it on the chin and moved on.

“I hope he understood Bielsa’s reasoning for leaving him out, whatever they were.” 

In other news, there is a major update on Leeds United’s bid to sign one of their top targets after Orta meeting with Bielsa.