Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hodgson: Lucas Sets The Standard For New Signings

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has urged his new signings to emulate Lucas Leiva's bouncebackability. The Reds midfielder scooped high praise from his boss after his man of the match display in the 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday. Lucas has long been castigated during his time in England, with the combative Brazilian receiving unfair comparisons to former members of the Liverpool engine room Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano. But Hodgson insists the 23-year- old is a key component of his first-team and reckons the former Gremio performer's resurgence could inspire some of Liverpool's new recruits to up their own performances. "Lucas is a young player and I have to keep being reminded he is not that old and does not have that much experience," said the Reds boss. "People clearly marked my card as regards to many players and when I came I knew there was a prejudice against him. "I have got to say I don't see what people really found to criticise in him. "I can only judge as I find and I find him very hard working, a very diligent player who works hard on his understanding of the game and team performances." Prejudice Hodgson has backed his summer signings to come good in the same way Lucas has emerged as a key performer this season. The former Fulham chief brought nine players to Anfield during the transfer window and Christian Poulsen has so far earned the flop tag after being ironically jeered when he was substituted during Liverpool's last Europa League tie. Hodgson admits Poulsen has struggled to adapt to the Premier League since moving from Juventus but he expects the 30-year-old Dane to play a key role in the club's campaign this season. The Liverpool boss added: "Christian Poulsen, who has had a bad start to the season, is to some extent also a victim of prejudice at the moment. "I am convinced in both of these players we have really useful players who will serve us to great effect for the rest of the season. "Maybe Christian will have to go through a bit of what Lucas went through but I know the players have the quality we are looking for and I know they are going to help us win matches." Marquee signing Joe Cole has also yet to find his true form for the Merseysiders, but fellow addition Raul Meireles caught the eye at the weekend and Hodgson was quick to praise the Portuguese midfielder. He said: "Raul is a good footballer and was very good in setting up the second goal for Fernando Torres against Chelsea and I think we will get a lot of use out of him. "I am quite happy players like him don't necessarily get put totally under the microscope from the day they arrive because even coming from a top team like Porto it takes time to settle. "Every player who comes here has to go through that adaptation process."

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