By Alex Stevens
Giuseppe Bellusci should not be axed for his recent blunders but manager Steve Evans must get into his head to avoid a repeat, according to club legend Peter Lorimer.
Defensive howlers 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.
But Lorimer is convinced Bellusci is the best centre-back at the club and should be in the team for Saturday’s clash against Burnley at Turf Moor.
“I would start Giuseppe Bellusci at Burnley,” Lorimer wrote in his Yorkshire Evening Post column on Friday. “Honestly I would. I can hear the clamour for Steve Evans to drop him but where Bellusci is concerned, you have to try and look at the bigger picture.
“I’m not going to defend the mistakes he’s made in the last two games. They’ve been costly and they’ve been stupid. We don’t need our centre-backs to look flash or to look cool.
“It’s the easiest thing in the world to latch onto mistakes and, don’t get me wrong, somewhere along the line a player has to pay for them. I just don’t think I’d be rushing to drop him at Burnley tomorrow. From Evans’ point of view, he really has to try and get into Bellusci’s head – to make him realise that but for these brainstorms, he’d be racking up some decent displays.
“In fairness to Bellusci, in general he’s been good recently. His all-round performances have been decent and, in my view, he’s been the best of our centre-backs.
“That’s not to say he can carry on making costly mistakes week after week because obviously that has to stop, but in the cold light of day, if you take Bellusci out of the team then you’re probably taking out our best centre-back.”
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.