Lucas gives Rafa backing

Brazilian midfielder aims to repay Spaniard for faith

Lucas: Rafa backing

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Lucas Leiva has vowed to repay Rafa Benitez for his faith, with the Liverpool boss now the man under pressure at Anfield.

Brazilian Lucas has constantly been scrutinised by fans for his unconvincing displays in a Reds shirt since his arrival from Gremio in 2007.

Benitez has persistently defended the player's abilities, but now the tides have turned as the Spanish boss is under immense pressure as a result of Liverpool's dreadful form.

The Reds have lost four on the trot, with Benitez's future now the subject of much speculation, but Lucas will strive to reach his full potential during this tough period for the club.

"We are in a difficult moment, but we are the ones on the pitch and it is up to us to improve," he told The Times.

"Rafa is a really good manager and now we have to try to win for ourselves, but also for him because he has been really good for us and for me in particular.

"He gave me opportunities and he gave me confidence, so now I want to pay him back by playing well, working and performing as he expects me to."

Scapegoat

Lucas is yet to win over Liverpool fans and after the departure of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid in the summer, the Brazil international has at times been made a scapegoat for failing to replace the Spaniard sufficiently.

The 22-year-old believes a stereotypical view of Brazilian footballers does not work in his favour, as his role is different to that of the typical Samba star.

He said: "Everybody knows I had difficult times here, especially with the people who criticised me.

"What I would say, though, is that the style of football in the Premier League is totally different to Brazil.

"I know people sometimes expect Brazilian footballers to play a certain way - to have unbelievable skill, to be able to do tricks and be like Ronaldinho or Kaka, but I am in a different position, where you cannot do those things and you have to work for the team.

"This is my mentality, to try to help my team-mates. I cannot think too much of the criticism. All I can do is try and do my job and hopefully this will be good enough.

"Me and Javier (Mascherano) have to be aware of the counter-attack because we have to make sure that we give the defenders our support. Every team needs these kind of players."