Marcelo Bielsa reflects on factors in deciding whether Leeds United captain Liam Cooper starts against Tottenham

MARCELO Bielsa will consider what is best both for his team and for Liam Cooper in deciding whether Leeds United's returning captain starts against Tottenham Hotspur.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 6:21 pm

Centre-back Cooper is back available for Saturday's Premier League clash at home to Spurs having completed a three-game suspension served for his straight red card in last month's 2-1 victory against Manchester City.

Diego Llorente and Pascal Struijk have formed the axis at the heart of the Whites defence in Cooper's absence and head coach Bielsa says there is much to consider in assessing if Cooper comes straight back into the side.

Cooper was sent off deep into the first half of last month's clash at the Etihad with Leeds 1-0 up but United fought back from conceding an equaliser to seal a dramatic 2-1 victory.

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BACK AVAILABLE: Leeds United captain Liam Cooper, second left, pictured before his dismissal in the 2-1 victory at Manchester City. Photo by Tim Keeton - Pool/Getty Images.

The Whites then held both Liverpool and Manchester United to draws at Elland Road before falling to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at relegation-battling Brighton.

Assessing how big a decision it was to bring his captain back into the XI and what factors he was taking into account, Bielsa reasoned: "Pascal and Llorente have shown that they can live up to the level that the previous people who have played in this position were playing at.

"But as you well know, there are other factors that are taken into consideration when you look at each game.

"And in any case what I always consider is what is best for the team and what is best for each player that participates because there is nothing more important than to look at the participation of each player.

"Every time you take a decision you don't only think about the good of the team, you consider each individual.

"Being a starter doesn't just generate a hierarchy within the players available so it doesn't favour any player to be in a starting position if they are not in conditions to respond at their best level."

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Thank you Laura Collins