Kiko Casilla: Leeds players wanted him captain - Marcelo Bielsa

Kiko Casilla plays for Leeds United against Hull City
Kiko Casilla was restored to the Leeds starting XI against Hull on Wednesday

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has defended his decision to make goalkeeper Kiko Casilla his captain for Wednesday's Carabao Cup defeat by Hull.

Casilla, 33, was banned for eight games and fined £60,000 in February after being found guilty of racially abusing Charlton forward Jonathan Leko.

"I interpreted the feeling of his team-mates," said Bielsa on Thursday.

"His team-mates think he deserved to be the captain and we have to listen to those messages."

Spanish keeper Casilla made only his second appearance for the Whites since he was found guilty by an independent commission.

The commission "did not accept" Casilla's claim that he was "unaware of the existence" of the racist word he was found guilty of using.

In May, 21-year-old Leko told Sky Sports Newsexternal-link he had not received an apology from Leeds or Casilla.

Casilla has lost his place as Leeds' first-choice keeper to French youngster Illan Meslier, but was picked to captain a much-changed side against Hull in the second-round penalty shootout defeat.

Some Leeds fans expressed their concerns over the decision on social media.

Bielsa added: "The players see in their captain someone they feel can represent them. I respect the opinions of any person. After that, opinions can be argued.

"Surely those who judge Kiko ignore a lot of the things his team-mates see in him?

"I cannot deny that the captain not only represents his team-mates, but he also represents the club.

"The opinion of the masses should always be heard. But I don't know if you guys know what percentage of fans it is.

"If there is a correlation between what the authorities, the fans and his team-mates think, surely the public won't have all the information that his team-mates would have?"

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