Leeds United’s Kiko Casilla has revealed he has had to adapt his game under Marcelo Bielsa and has been forced to play in a different way to what he was used to.
Speaking in an interview with Spanish media outlet Diario de Tarragona, the 32-year-old revealed the manager has asked him to use his feet a lot more and help out with the defensive aspect of the game.
“At Cartagena, I had played like that, but I hadn’t done for many years. At Madrid and Espanyol they also rely on the ball but not as clearly,” he said.
“Bielsa makes me participate a lot in the game. He asks me to take the ball and do a lot of defence help, and that forces me to be out of my area.”
Casilla came in for some criticism last season towards the end of Leeds’ Championship campaign, however it appears he has started to prove to everybody why he has been brought to Elland Road.
Although his experience is something that, perhaps, can speak for itself (Transfermarkt), the veteran shot-stopper seemed to struggle at points and was guilty of making a huge error against Derby County in their play-off defeat – the side he will come up against this weekend.
However, he seems to have found his feet in between the sticks for the Elland Road outfit as the Spaniard has had an impressive start to the current campaign.
Having been a mainstay for Bielsa, Casilla has kept five clean sheets in his nine appearances across all competitions, conceding just five goals in the process (Transfermarkt).
Indeed, it would appear the manager’s demands are being met by the 32-year-old ‘keeper as well, as he has made an average of 33 passes in his seven Championship matches, with a pass success rate of 78.4% (WhoScored).
For context, that average is significantly higher than it has ever been throughout his career to date, with WhoScored stating last season’s figures were his second-highest to date.
It would appear rather obvious that Bielsa has had an effect on Casilla’s game and it seems the Spanish shot-stopper has been working hard to ensure that he follows those demands.
However, there will be a sense around Elland Road that as long as the ‘keeper keeps the ball out of the back of the net, not many will be too bothered by how he plays for Leeds – just as long as they keep on picking up points.
Leeds fans, are you at all surprised Bielsa has asked Casilla to play with the ball at his feet more often? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments section below!
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