Lucas gets Benitez backing
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has given under-fire midfielder Lucas Leiva his '100 per cent' backing.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 07/02/09 1:33pm
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has given under-fire midfielder Lucas Leiva his "100 per cent" backing.
The 22-year-old combative midfielder has endured a miserable time of late after first conceding a late penalty at Wigan, before being sent off for two bookable offences in the Reds' FA Cup exit to local rivals Everton.
The bit-part player has attracted wide distaste amongst Liverpool supporters, but Benitez has moved quickly to defend the Brazil international.
"We will miss him. We have some problems and he is a player who could have been really important for us," said Benitez.
"I can't speak for every single fan, but every member of staff knows he is a very good player and his team-mates know he is a good player.
"Against Wigan, for me, Lucas was the best player on the pitch. Then the other day at Everton he was also playing well and the ref made three mistakes. He gave one foul against him which wasn't, showed one yellow card which was wrong - and then the second yellow could be, but the player went over easily.
"I will support Lucas 100 per cent, always. He is a fantastic player, he is a nice boy and a very good professional. He has quality, he is learning and is improving all the time.
"It is not difficult for me to say that I support him 100 per cent."