Premier League

Benitez: I can make Sissoko great

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Rafa Benitez is confident he is the man to get the best out of Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko.

The France international has shown glimpses of his true potential at St James’ Park, but has often lacked consistency on Tyneside.

Newcastle boss Benitez said he has spoken at length with Sissoko about how to get him back to his best and believes he can be a key man in the club’s battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

“I was talking with him right at the beginning and he was very positive. He was very clear. In terms of his work-rate on the pitch he’s been fantastic,” he told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

“If he carries on doing this he’ll be better. He has everything, potential and quality.

“He has a lot of things it’s just being sure he will put things on to the pitch. You saw in the last game he was running and passing players, he still has to improve things.

“At Leicester he probably could have had a penalty. He was there but he will need time. He will score goals in the future.”

Sissoko filled in at left back during Newcastle’s 1-1 draw against Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby last time out, a role he may have to occupy again after Massadio Haidara (knee) suffered a setback in his recovery.

But Benitez refused to be drawn on his plans, adding: “It’s too early because he’s been with France. Then we have to see if he’s available.”

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