Leeds United goalkeeper Marco Silvestri will retain his starting place against league leaders Derby County after a glowing vote of confidence from head coach Neil Redfearn.
Redfearn rallied behind Silvestri after his recent mistakes and said the 23-year-old was assured of selection at Elland Road tomorrow, describing him as a “top young goalkeeper.”
Silvestri took the blame for the costly blunder which contributed to United’s 2-1 loss at Blackburn Rovers last weekend, the second time in a month that the former Chievo player has been at fault for a goal.
Redfearn reacted to the incident – a hurried clearance which struck defender Liam Cooper and presented Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes with a tap-in – by saying Silvestri “needs to learn” and eradicate errors from his game.
Leeds’ 3-1 defeat at Cardiff City at the start of November was sealed when Silvestri collided with Giuseppe Bellusci five minutes from time, leaving Kenwyne Jones to find an empty net.
But Redfearn, who has former Arsenal and Reading keeper Stuart Taylor in reserve, reiterated his faith in Silvestri last night and said he had given no thought to dropping him for tomorrow’s clash with Derby.
“The number of points he’s won us this season far outweighs the number of points he’s cost us,” Redfearn said. “We’ve got to put these things into perspective.
“I was as frustrated as the players after Saturday and I wear my heart on my sleeve so perhaps at that moment there was no perspective in what I said.
“He’s a top young keeper and he’s been outstanding. I think back to the first game I had as caretaker (in August) when we played Bolton. He was absolutely unbelievable and he won us the game. At 1-0 they came onto us and put us under pressure and if he hadn’t have played like he did then it would have been a different matter. You’ve got to give praise where praise is due.
“Every now and again people are going to make mistakes. The difference in professional football is that when you make mistakes you’ve got 20,000 who see it. In the average workplace, you and your mates see it.
“We’ve got to give him belief but he isn’t a problem. He’s a confident boy anyway and for me, he’s playing well.”
Leeds brought Silvestri – a player who United owner Massimo Cellino described as the “best goalkeeper in Serie A” – to Elland Road from Chievo in July, signing him on a four-year deal for a fee of around £400,000. His position has rarely been threatened by the more experienced Taylor and Silvestri has started all of United’s 18 league games.
Redfearn admitted that he had been overly critical of his side in the immediate aftermath of their loss at Blackburn, a result which dropped the club to within two points of the Championship’s bottom three, saying: “The bottom line is that we played well. It was important they understood that on Monday.
“There’s no point in me talking about the importance of performances if I let my heart rule my head when the lads play well. But when we play well we do need to win. It’s about getting that happy medium.
“By and large we defended quite well against Blackburn but keeping clean sheets is about minimising mistakes and making the right decisions.
“We want to pass and be creative but sometimes when you’re under pressure you just have to clear your lines. They do it everywhere in the world, even at Real Madrid. We’re no exception.”