Javi Gracia has defended Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier in Thursday’s press conference – as per the club’s YouTube – when asked about the Frenchman’s poor form, having conceded 11 goals in his last two appearances.

Meslier, 23, has been our undisputed first-choice goalkeeper since the start of the 2020-21 season. Ever since we gained promotion to the Premier League. He has broken records since Leeds returned to the Premier League.

Indeed, he is the youngest goalkeeper to reach 100 appearances in the Premier League. Quite the stat. But, of late, he has come in for criticism. Some of his performances have not been good – being beaten perhaps, far too easily.

Against Liverpool, he allowed Mo Salah’s first goal to fly past him at the near post. Often, Leeds have won games with Meslier making the odd save but recently, that is not the case. Gracia defended Meslier, though, on Thursday.

Asked about criticism coming in Meslier’s direction from fans and pundits, Gracia responded to reporters – shifting blame from Meslier: “If we’ve conceded 11 goals in the last two games, it is not because of the goalkeeper.”

Leeds United v Nottingham Forest - Premier League
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Gracia defends Leeds goalkeeper Meslier despite 11 goals in last two

Meslier is a top, top goalkeeper. A player that is going to have a wonderful career at the top of European football and potentially, for his country. But recently, his form has dipped and maybe, being the undisputed no.1 does not help.

It does not keep Meslier on his toes. Well, if Meslier needed a reality check, he has got one. Rated at £50m by Phil Hay in 2021, Meslier needs to show why he is one of Europe’s best young goalkeepers. Starting with Fulham next.

Leeds will be up against it, given our record in London and that Fulham come into the match having beaten Everton last time out. They will be favourites, but capable of winning. Meslier will be tested. He must stand up to that test.

Leeds United v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

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