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McLeish blasts late Benitez
21 Oct 2009 - 13:48:27
Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish has criticised Christian Benitez for returning to St Andrew's late from World Cup duty.
The striker missed Saturday's defeat at Arsenal after failing to board a connecting flight en route from Ecuador.
"The wee man's back, we've had a meeting and he's got the message," said McLeish.
"He held his hands up and admitted that there were some things he could have done better and I gave him a tarjeta amarilla - the yellow card.
"We gave him great support when his father had the car crash and he went off the radar a bit. I told him it was very important in the future that we've got to have the communication, the respect, the professionalism.
"If I was dropping him from the team, I'd explain to him why, I'd communicate with him. I don't just ignore players.
"It's a mutual respect and I'm not treating them like kids, I'm treating them like professionals and, when I had that little meeting with him, I outlined the importance of these things.
"He's not the only South American who's been incommunicado when he's gone back to his own country. I can imagine he's seen his all his family and friends. We gave him an extra week and I'd just like to think that he'll repay us with the performances."
The 23-year-old has failed to find the net in his three starts and five substitute appearances for City so far this season.