By Alex Stevens
Steve Evans has claimed Giuseppe Bellusci would need to make mistakes over a three to five week period before being axed from the team due to poor form.
Blunders from the centre-back in the last two matches against QPR and Rotherham directly contributed to Leeds squandering points.
Evans’ team lost 2-1 to his former club Rotherham last Saturday before letting slip a one-goal lead against Rangers on Tuesday to draw 1-1 after Bellusci conceded a late penalty.
The 26-year-old has been bearing the brunt of criticism from disgruntled fans as Leeds’ Championship campaign threatens to end on a whimper.
Evans refused to confirm if Bellusci will be in the starting X1 for Saturday’s trip to high-flying Burnley but he insisted he would not drop a player for a few isolated mistakes.
“If you take away the last three minutes of Tuesday and Saturday, most people would be leaving the stadium saying that Bellusci was our best player in both matches,” Evans told LUTV on Thursday. “He was outstanding in spells.
“You don’t go out of the team for one mistake or two, no matter how severe they were. You have to keep your place in the team, but if it continues over three or four or five weeks, that changes.
“Pepe has my support, like he did before Rotherham and Queens Park Rangers, and he will have it before Burnley.
“Whether that makes him play in front of Liam Cooper or Sol Bamba, we will see an hour or so before the kick-off.”
Leeds are 15th in the Championship table on 48 points ahead of Saturday’s trip to Turf Moor.
In other Leeds news, owner Massimo Cellino has already made a decision about the future of Evans, according to former Elland Road striker Noel Whelan.