Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Benitez's Message to Sissoko - and to the Fans at St James'

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Benitez's Message to Sissoko - and to the Fans at St James'

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER Chief Sports Writer lee.ryder@trinitymirror.com @lee_ryder

RAFA Benitez has told Moussa Sissoko to remain cool, calm and collected ahead of Newcastle United's opening home game with Huddersfield Town today.

The midfielder is back in the squad and could play some part in the clash with the Terriers at St James' Park.

He is likely to be on the end of boos from fans who are unhappy about his public plea to leave the club following relegation from the Premier League.

Benitez offered a reasoned response to the Chronicle for supporters who are disappointed by the French international's recent behaviour.

The former Real Madrid boss said: "There are different points when you analysing the situation.

"As a manager, he is a good player and I rate him really highly. He is a good professional and he is a nice person.

"As a fan, I would not be very happy because he is saying the things he is saying.

"As a person who has to deal with this as part of the club we told him the transfer could happen and the best way to deal with the situation is to stay calm and do your job.

"We told him to leave the agents to do their jobs."

With Newcastle in need of a win to kick off their Sky Bet Championship campaign, Benitez wants the Euro 2016 finalist to help get the three points needed and worry about his future later.

He added: "The message is clear from the club and me - concentrate on football.

"Your agent has to work and if a club wants you they have to come forward with the right offer as soon as possible."

Benitez also explained Newcastle don't have to offload the man who ended last season wearing the captain's armband.

He said: "We are not under pressure and we don't have to sell. I don't want to as a manager.

"If we keep the player he can make the difference in a lot of games so we have to make sure we make the right decision for everyone. …

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