Marcelo Bielsa to keep faith with under-fire Kiko Casilla

Still No 1 - Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla. (Picture: Matt King/Getty Images)
Still No 1 - Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla. (Picture: Matt King/Getty Images)
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Kiko Casilla will play for Leeds United against Bristol City tomorrow, coach Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed.

The Spanish goalkeeper has come in for widespread criticism for the mistakes he has made since mid-December which have led to Leeds conceding goals.

Kiko Casilla made an error for Brentford's opening goal scored by Said Benrahma. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Kiko Casilla made an error for Brentford's opening goal scored by Said Benrahma. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Casilla was arguably the Whites’ most important player up to that point and Bielsa is determined to stand by his goalkeeper for the greater good.

“I don’t support Kiko, I support the team,” insisted Bielsa, having revealed Casilla and Patrick Bamford will keep their places. “If by supporting Kiko I damage the team, I am not going to support him.”

Another frustration for fans has been the time taken integrating January signings Jean-Kevin Augustin and Ian Poveda into the team.

Winger Poveda is yet to make his debut, having been an unused substitute in his first two matches, and not made the bench for the last two. Even so, Bielsa says he is closer to being ready than Augustin is.

If by supporting Kiko I damage the team, I am not going to support him.

Marcelo Bielsa

“Poveda gets his physical fitness quicker, he’s a light player,” said the Argentinian. “As a winger he has to attack and defend. In this sense, he doesn’t need any adaptation.

“I always try to organise the substitutes with a full-back and a centre-back, a more defensive and a more offensive midfielder and a centre-forward and someone who can play wide (plus a goalkeeper). If we are in good position to do that, I respect those things, if not I adapt.”

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