Football

Benitez issued with warning over diving

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Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has warned recalled striker Christian Benitez to cut out the diving ahead of Saturday's home meeting with Everton.

The Ecuador international made an impressive return to the starting line-up in the midweek 2-1 win at Portsmouth which lifted City in eighth spot in the Barclays Premier League.

But he blotted his copybook by going to ground too easily, picking up a yellow card, and McLeish fears such actions will be looked upon unfavourably by referees in future.

The former Scotland boss said: "Christian went down the other night and the referee quite rightly said it was a dive and he was spot on. Christian has got to learn the culture here and that we frown upon things like that. He has to stay on his feet."

He added: "He will now have to stay on his feet because the next time he gets clipped I'm sure the referee will say; 'We've seen him diving and I'll book him for that'.

"Hopefully referees will treat Christian fairly but I'm certainly going to have a word with him about that situation. You don't dive."

Blues have still to make a decision on whether to sign Benitez on a permanent basis following his season-long loan switch to St Andrew's.

McLeish said: "We have still got to make that decision. He definitely gives us something but he's still a work in progress.

"In terms of the English league he has still got things to learn. He had a recent injury and his confidence levels went a bit low.

"But he showed good things when he came on as a substitute in the FA Cup game at Portsmouth and looked his old self again in the league game with them on Tuesday.

"He hasn't scored many goals but his six or seven assists have been really valuable in getting us into the position we are in at the moment."

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Christian Benitez
Birmingham

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