Marcelo Bielsa has told his pre-Fulham press conference – as per Leeds Live – that he was impressed with Rodrigo’s performance against Hull City despite a penalty-shootout defeat, and stated whether he would start against the Cottagers.
Rodrigo, 29, made his first start for Leeds on Wednesday night as the Whites suffered a surprise exit in the second round of the Carabao Cup to Hull City – eventually losing 9-8 on penalties after Gjanni Alioski cancelled out Mallik Wilks’ strike.
It was Rodrigo’s second appearance for Leeds after his club-record move from Valencia, following his substitute appearance against Liverpool. There was debate whether he would start against Fulham in a battle of newly-promoted sides.
However, Bielsa has stated that he will remain with Patrick Bamford up front after the latter’s goal against Liverpool – though did make it clear that if they wanted Rodrigo to start, that he would be more than ready to start.
Asked if it will take time for Rodrigo to bed in, Bielsa said: “He is already ready. I agree with your analysis of his performance [showed lots of energy]. He won’t start on Saturday, but he’s in a good condition to start if we want him to.”
TBR’s view – Bamford’s record against Fulham is good
Last season, Leeds suffered a 2-1 defeat and beat Fulham 3-0 – with Bamford scoring goals in both matches. With Fulham having hardly changed their side from last season’s play-off winning side, starting Bamford makes sense.
The former Chelsea striker will be high in confidence after netting against Liverpool. However, Leeds go into this game slightly differently to last season – in that they will be expected to pick up three points. Bamford, then, will be under pressure to score.