Premier League

Rodgers wants more character

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Sat, 16 Feb 2013 10:34:00

Moussa Sissoko admits Newcastle are determined to right the "injustice" of their first-leg draw with Metalist Kharkiv.

The Magpies were held to a goalless draw in Thursday night's last-32 tie in the Europa League after Papiss Cisse saw two efforts incorrectly adjudged to be offside.

Newcastle midfielder Sissoko claims the team are frustrated by the decisions but feels they can still progress in Ukraine next week.

"There is a sense of injustice in the team because of the goals," said Sissoko, quoted in The Sun.

"It is not good for us that the goals were wrongly disallowed but referees can make mistakes. We just have to do what we have to do when we get the chance next week."

The decisions were particularly cruel on Cisse given that the Senegal striker has struggled for form this season after enjoying a sensational start to his Newcastle career last term.

But Sissoko has every faith that the goals will soon come for the 27-year-old signing from Freiburg.

"Last time was not his night," he added. "He just could not score - or at least he could not score a goal that was allowed. But all his team-mates have a lot of confidence in him.

"We know exactly what he can do. I am sure that between now and the rest of the season he will find the net many times.

"Hopefully the goals will start to flow next week in Ukraine."

Miguel is available on a free transfer after leaving Valencia last summer and he recently held talks with Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The 33-year-old has been invited over to the DW Stadium by Martinez, with the Wigan boss insisting it is not a trial.

However, Martinez wants to see what condition the right-back is in before pressing ahead with any plans to add Miguel's experience to Wigan's fight for Premier League survival.

"It's not a trial as such, I just want to see how he is," said Martinez in the Daily Mirror.

Miguel spent five years at Benfica before enjoying seven seasons with Valencia and he has appeared in two World Cups and two European Championships for Portugal.

There has been a tangible swell of excitement in the south Wales city since the Swans secured their place in the Capital One Cup final against League Two Bradford.

The sense of expectation is reaching a crescendo with just over a week to go until the club's first major final, but they must first travel to face former boss Brendan Rodgers and his charges on the back of a warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

South Korea international Ki is feeling refreshed after the break in the United Arab Emirates, but knows a lack of focus on the task ahead on Merseyside could rapidly erase the feelgood factor.

"It was good to go to Dubai. It's nice to have some good weather, even though it was not that hot," he said. "It was perfect environment for us to train and also get some rest before two big games.

"But we cannot think about the final when there is Liverpool to play first.

"The next game is always the most important one, especially when you are going to Anfield.

"We want a good result there because we have good memories there after the cup game (winning 3-1 on October 31) and it would be nice to keep it that way, even though we know it will be very different in the league.

"We want to keep the confidence and good atmosphere in the squad before the final, and the best way to do that is to perform well and hopefully get a result."

Ki has proved himself to be a versatile addition to the Swansea squad since his ?5.5million switch from Celtic last summer.

He has mainly been employed as a deep-lying protection for the back four, breaking up play and helping launch Swansea's effective rapid counter-attacks.

But he has also been utilised in more advanced roles to take advantage of his neat distribution, and Ki is more than happy to play wherever manager Michael Laudrup sees fit.

"It is true my role varies a lot but it is not difficult," he said.

"I think I know how to play in whichever type of midfield role I have.

"All the midfielders at Swansea know what we want to do in games and our roles so we can change. It is not tough to change roles. We are comfortable both defensively and offensively and that is what helps us."

Liverpool's transfer dealings since Rodgers took charge last year have largely focused on the younger end of the market, but it has not helped to bring consistency to the team's results.

And, with Jamie Carragher retiring at the end of the season, Rodgers wants to sign players who will add greater character to his squad.

"The biggest thing we need this summer is to bring in some men, some character that allows and supports the others to see the games out," said Rodgers. "That is the biggest thing for me.

"Look at Jamie, he is our best defender, he's 35 but we are losing that character. That has to be replaced, while I also think there are other areas of the team that needs improving.

"They have to be established players, that's the key. They need that hunger to succeed. That is something we'll talk about at the end of the season when we identify where the improvements must be made.

"Whether that is senior players, youth players or getting the mixture right.

"I always like to give young players hope but in order to do that they need experience alongside them.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that the biggest change needed takes the longest and that is the mentality change."

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