Uwe Rosler has given Marco Silvestri his unequivocal backing and said the goalkeeper will start “no question” against Sheffield Wednesday, despite his shaky display at Bristol City in midweek.
Rosler moved to support his existing number one following criticism of mistakes made by Silvestri in a dramatic 2-2 draw at Ashton Gate on Wednesday night.
Leeds lost a 2-0 lead in the dying minutes of the match, with Silvestri beaten at his near post by Kieran Agard and unable to deal with an injury-time corner which Aden Flint stabbed into the net, denying United their first league win of the season.
The 24-year-old Italian was the subject of unsavoury abuse on the Twitter in the 24 hours that followed but Rosler said Silvestri was “in a good mental state” and left no doubt about his inclusion at home to Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow.
“Marco’s a very talented goalkeeper,” Rosler said. “He had a very good and strong end to last season.
“Marco’s quite young for a number one and the older he gets the better he’ll get. He’ll be in the firing line and every time he’s there he’ll take things on board. He’ll learn things.
“I’ve spoken to him like I’ve spoken to every other player and he’s fine. He’s in a good mental state. He didn’t mention anything (about social media abuse) to me.
“This is how I see it - he will be in goal tomorrow, there’s no question. He has to perform like everyone has to perform but we had a good chat and he made a very good impression on me. He’s ready.”
Silvestri was guilty of a handful of errors prior to City’s goals, though Leeds were on the verge of an impressive away victory until Agard - once a transfer target of United’s - drilled a low shot in off a post with 88 minutes gone.
Rosler, who signed the experienced Ross Turnbull as cover for Silvestri last month, said: “We didn’t speak about the mistakes. We spoke about things in general - what is the next step in his development stage.
“We didn’t speak about the Bristol City or any social media abuse. We spoke about how we can get there together, what we think he has to do and what we have to do with him.
“He coped very well last year. I don’t see any reason why he should not cope this season.”
Silvestri was signed by Leeds from Chievo 13 months ago, one of their first deals following the takeover of the club by Massimo Cellino.
The transfer fee was never disclosed but Cellino described Silvestri as a “£5m goalkeeper” and one of the “best in Serie A”.
Silvestri was virtually ever present last season before his involvement in the infamous withdrawal of six foreign players through injury ahead of a visit to Charlton Athletic in April saw him drop from the team during the Championship run-in.
His display on Wednesday attracted fresh criticism on Twitter, including abuse which provoked an angry reaction from Silvestri’s partner, Sofia Jamal. Jamal described it as “disgusting”.
Rosler said: “For me I’ve said many times that I’m not a fan of social media. I’m not reading social media.
“I always give my players advice. I’m not telling them, I’m not dictating to them but I give them advice not to make themselves vulnerable to criticism or abuse by not being on social media. Simple as that.”
Rosler has no fresh injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby at Elland Road.
United’s head coach hinted that he would retain a front two of Mirco Antenucci and Chris Wood after both players found the net in Wednesday’s draw with Bristol City.
Rosler defended his players again after their late collapse at Ashton Gate and dismissed a claim by Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill that his side had “battered” Leeds over 90 minutes.
“I was astonished about my colleague’s statement after the game,” Rosler said. “I didn’t see the game that way.
“The majority of the play Bristol had but we looked very comfortable and I couldn’t see them scoring. Lapses got them back into the game - and the fact that there were six minutes of (injury) time.”