Rodgers wants more character

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


“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


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


“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


“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


“I think I know how to play in whichever type of midfield role I


“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


“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


“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