Cissé pleads for patience in struggle to settle at Anfield

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The Independent Online

The Liverpool striker Djibril Cissé has acknowledged that he has struggled to settle at Anfield, but has urged fans to be patient. The France striker, who signed from Auxerre this summer for £14m, has only scored twice in the league for his new side.

The Liverpool striker Djibril Cissé has acknowledged that he has struggled to settle at Anfield, but has urged fans to be patient. The France striker, who signed from Auxerre this summer for £14m, has only scored twice in the league for his new side.

The 23-year-old admitted he was still coming to terms with the pace of Premiership football and living in a new country away from his family. But Cissé believes he will improve as the season progresses and is determined to justify his transfer fee.

"I have a young daughter over in France and I am not getting to see her very often, certainly not as often as I would like, so all of these things have made it quite a hard time for me since I came in July," Cissé said.

"I would ask the fans to be patient because my best form is coming. I am having to learn a new style of football in this country, the game is much faster and more physical than I am used to and I am being singled out for close marking.

"The pressure and the expectation is something I am aware of, but I have broad shoulders and I will prove to everyone how much I am worth and how good a player I am.

"People should not rush to a judgement on me now, because we have only played 11 games."

Under the relatively new management of Rafael Benitez, Cissé believes Liverpool's results will improve as the team and coaching staff get to know each other.

"If I get the time to integrate properly, and to learn the game of my friends and team-mates, then I will make my mark at Liverpool.," he said. "I might not be scoring as often as I would like so far, but at least I am still scoring. That's good for the confidence."

Benitez has yet to decide his first-choice front pair, which has added to Cissé's struggle to settle. "I am having to learn how Milan [Baros] plays and how we can help each other in attack. The same is true of Luis Garcia and since I am not a magician I will need patience before that happens," Cissé explained. "I don't think we are similar players at all. Milan likes to have the ball at his feet and the goal in front of him so he can run at players and commit them, getting in behind them and shooting. I like the ball in space so I have time to assess my options.

"Milan plays the game quicker than me, but I think we can blend together well and become a good partnership."

The Celtic chairman Brian Quinn yesterday gave supporters the news they had been dreading by revealing there would be no transfer funds available for the club's manager, Martin O'Neill.

The club revealed at its annual general meeting that its debt had fallen to £15m from the £17.78m of the previous financial year. But, despite landing a five-year, £25m sponsorship deal with sportswear giants Nike, O'Neill was told that Celtic had to maintain stringent financial controls to wipe out their debt.

O'Neill has only brought in Juninho on a free transfer from Middlesbrough and Henri Camara on loan, despite losing Henrik Larsson and other influential stars. But the Parkhead chairman warned the shareholders and fans at the AGM that the club must remain cautious.

"That's likely to continue unless we do better in European competition than we expect," said Quinn, who is convinced they will move to England one day. "But we keep working away at bringing more money into the club and Peter [Lawwell, chief executive] can take credit for the Nike deal.

"I don't like losses [£7.47m after tax] but they have come from what happened a couple of years ago when players signed huge contracts and the transfer fees were high. That time has passed and we are going to need to work through that. People shouldn't be surprised by the losses and we are continuing to cut them.

"We have a big challenge. We have not had to sell players and have retained the quality of our squad. I am not going to put Celtic in a position where we have to sell."

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