Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed that under-fire goalkeeper Kiko Casilla will pay against Bristol City on Saturday.
Bielsa was adamant at his news conference at Thorp Arch on Thursday that the Spanish stopper would be his choice in goal, barring picking up an injury before Saturday.
Casilla, who has 12 clean sheets this term, has been criticised recently after being beaten on his near post in the defeat at Nottingham Forest before slipping and allowing Brentford to open the scoring in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Griffin Park.
The United boss also confirmed that 12-goal Patrick Bamford, who has been replaced by new boy Jean-Kevin Augustin in the last two games, would also start at Elland Road.
“Casilla is going to play and Bamford as well,” said Bielsa, who said that the club picked up no new problems against Brentford in midweek. “Nothing new. All the players who played Brentford are in good condition to play Bristol.”
Bielsa continued: “I don’t support Kiko, I support the team. If supporting Kiko is supporting the team, I support Kiko. If I support Kiko, but damage the team, I will not support Kiko. When one manager takes a decision on an important position he analyses a lot of situations.
“It’s not just about if we have one player in his position who can play there instead. Leeds have one player – Meslier. Honestly, a long time, I didn’t see one young player like him with his level of resources. You also verified this against Arsenal.
“It’s not just knowing we have a player in good condition like Meslier which make you take the decision to switch them. That’s important. I want to add I do not ignore Kiko’s mistakes. They are evident.
“Also, it’s true the consequence of his mistakes are linked with our results, but I give importance to Kiko, in the same matches, and previous, kept confidence in himself. He continues giving the right answers in every situation in the game.
“Other goalkeepers, when they fail aerially, in the next situation they are between the posts. Other keepers when they give a good pass, after they start to play long. Other keepers when they make mistakes, they lose the confidence of his team-mates.
“After you have team-mates, when they realise he made mistakes, they don’t give him the ball anymore. Kiko keep the confidence in himself, he keep the confidence of his team-mates. He lost the confidence expressed in the press and media. Something we know.”
Bielsa was asked about Adam Forshaw’s hip surgery and whether he would have liked to have signed a replacement.
“I would like to count on Forshaw,” said Bielsa. “We resolved this situation with Phillips, Klich, but when you plan one season with 18 players it is not the same as when you struggle with less players.
“If we bring someone else in, we have to find someone better and better means, in every sense, not just in skills, resources, but someone who can compete right now. We can bring one player like that paying a lot of money.”
Asked in detail about Forshaw’s surgery in Colorado, Bielsa said: “It is something the club has informed about. Six months in process for him. It is a medical detail I prefer the club to talk about because it is not my responsibility. All I can say is our medical staff made everything to try to help the player and they gave everything to solve the situation.
“I know about his surgery. His mood is going to be nervous because he has to pass the situation.
“The support the club gave to him is difficult to do better. Everything we could do for him was everything and with big attention from all of us. From the club and the medical staff as well. Took care of Forshaw 100 per cent every day.”