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Sissoko told to calm down

Jan 13 2006


By Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo


RAFA BENITEZ today spoke of his determination to cure Momo Sissoko's 'yellow fever' following the midfielder's Premiership booking spree.


Sissoko picked up his seventh caution of the campaign against Luton last week. The Mali international has also been red-carded during a debut season which has included two suspensions already.


Benitez has defended his young midfielder from accusations he's over-aggressive, but admits there are adjustments he must make to his game to avoid further bans.


"He will learn. The problem for him at the moment is everything's new," said Benitez.


"It's a new club, a new style of football and a new language. He just needs to analyse the situation a bit more. I'm very happy with him since he joined because he has contributed a lot. The positives are greater than the negatives."


Privately, Benitez has spent time with Sissoko this week, advising him against too many reckless challenges.


But the Spanish boss is adamant the problem is one of adaptation and he has no intention of asking the 20-year-old to curb his aggressive instincts.


"I've seen the video of the booking against Luton. He arrived late into the tackle and it was a normal booking," said Benitez.


"I prefer to have a player with high energy rather than someone who is calm. He is the kind of player we've been missing.


"We are working with him and we are always talking to him about things he can learn."


With Daniel Agger and Jan Kromkamp added to his squad, Benitez has more defensive options available for the visit of Spurs this weekend. But he's unlikely to amend his back four too much ahead of a key fixture.


Neither Agger nor Kromkamp are match sharp enough to challenge for a place against Martin Jol's team.


Agger wasn't the only signing yesterday. MK Dons teenager David Martin, son of Alvin, joined Paco Hererra's reserve squad.


That will have no impact on Jerzy Dudek's situation. The Pole's outburst today is more likely to strengthen Benitez's resolve to ensure he doesn't take a penny less than £4m.


"I hear a lot of things about players, but at this moment we're not thinking about letting players go," Benitez said today, speaking more generally about rumoured departures.


"If we sign more players for certain positions, you never know. But we want to keep players."



Edited by Benitez
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