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Bielsa insists he has enough ‘options’ at centre-forward as he defends Rodrigo

Marcelo Bielsa insists he has enough ‘options’ at centre-forward and has defended Rodrigo following a disappointing debut season for the record signing at Leeds.

Leeds have been reliant on Patrick Bamford at centre-forward this season with the forward having enjoyed an excellent campaign upon the club’s top-flight return, scoring 13 goals in the Premier League so far this season.

The club’s options beyond the 27-year-old are limited, however, with both Tyler Roberts and Rodrigo having deputised in his absence, despite both players playing much of their football in midfield this season.

Bamford was substituted with injury during the goalless draw with Chelsea last week, and remains a doubt ahead of the club’s clash with Fulham at Craven Cottage on Friday evening.

Ahead of the fixture, Bielsa insists he is happy with his attacking options and says both Rodrigo and Roberts can deputise should Bamford be deemed unfit to start.

“Tyler Roberts, Bamford and Rodrigo can all play as a centre-forward and Rodrigo and Tyler can also play behind the centre-forward,” Bielsa told his pre-match press conference.

“They are all options and throughout different stages of the campaign, they have given positive responses.”

Bielsa also defended club-record signing Rodrigo who has endured an underwhelming season since his £27m arrival from Valencia last summer, with the Spain international having scored just three league goals.

The Argentine admits the forward’s campaign has proven stop-start due to injury and illness, but says he has seen what the star ‘is capable’ of and has backed Rodrigo to find his form.

“Rodrigo arrived at the start of the competition and didn’t manage to do pre-season with us,” said the Leeds boss.

“It took him four weeks to become a starter and after playing his best game, which was the game against Aston Villa, he became sick.

“He was ill for 20 days and after that, it took him a month to get back to his best again.

“He played 10 to 12 games at a medium to high level before he picked up an injury, which put him out for five weeks.

“For me in particular and Leeds as his club, we have seen what Rodrigo is capable of. For me, he is a great striker who when he finds his best form, is a very dangerous forward and very useful.”

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