Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has offered a lengthy defence of his decision to hand Kiko Casilla the captaincy against Hull on Wednesday.
Spanish stopper Casilla took the armband as the Whites lost 9-8 on penalties to their Yorkshire rivals in the Carabao Cup.
The move comes after the 33-year-old received an eight-match ban for racial abuse last season.
Pressed on his decision in Thursday’s press conference, Bielsa insisted he took advice from those within his dressing room.
“I interpreted the feelings of his team-mates. His team-mates think he deserved to be the captain and we have to listen to those messages,” the manager said (via LeedsLive).
“The players see in their captain someone they feel can represent them.”
Asked again about the issue, however, Bielsa then launched another, lengthier defence of Casilla’s captaincy.
He said: “I respect the thoughts of any person. After that, opinions can be argued. Surely those who judge Kiko ignore a lot of the things his team-mates see in him.
“You are saying I should have contemplated whether to make Kiko captain? Either I take the opinion of the fans or the players. I can’t deny the captain represents his team-mates and the club. That means I can’t limit myself to what the players’ wishes were.
“What is also important you guys may not know is what percentage of these fans actually didn’t want Kiko as captain because the opinion of the masses should always be heard, but I don’t know if you know what percentage of the fans is.
“Of course, we value the conduct of Kiko, which only we can judge because we’re part of the group. When you are subjected to what other people judge you for, what other people think, it doesn’t matter what we think, we have to accept the decision of the authorities.
“If there’s correlation between what the fans, team-mates and authorities think, surely the public won’t have all the information his team-mates have. ”
TEAM NEWS FOR SATURDAY’S CLASH WITH FULHAM
Meanwhile, Bielsa also insisted that Rodrigo would not be starting in Saturday’s clash against Fulham. The Spaniard featured from the start on Wednesday after a substitute appearance last weekend away at Liverpool.
Bielsa said: “He is already ready. I agree with your analysis of his performance. He won’t start on Saturday, but he’s in a good condition to start if we want him to.”
Liam Cooper is likely to be fit to face Fulham on Saturday. The club captain sat out last weekend’s defeat at Anfield with a calf issue.
Bielsa added: “There is no new injuries from the last few days. [Adam] Forshaw is taking part in collective training today apart from actually playing football. Next week his rehabilitation will continue.”