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Liverpool eye Real Madrid's Cheryshev

Transfer Talk
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Sunderland boss Bruce hits out at 'disgusting' Benitez

As Sunderland prepare to face Liverpool on Saturday, Steve Bruce has strongly criticised former Anfield manager Rafa Benitez for his "disgusting" behaviour.

• Sunderland blog: Resilience at Anfield

Bruce's anger stems from Benitez's pursuit of then Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones in January. The Spaniard was accused by his contemporary of leaking transfer stories and unsettling the striker.

The Sunderland manager has not forgiven Benitez, who joined Inter Milan over the summer, but expects his replacement at Anfield, Roy Hodgson, to conduct himself in a more admirable way.

"If you look at the money Rafa Benitez had to spend, I would expect Roy to think he'd have more strength in depth than what he's got," Bruce said.

"Make no mistake, he has inherited a fantastic club with history and tradition and he's always got the likes of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Joe Cole. But he has inherited a hard and a very difficult job.

"I know one thing - he will conduct himself far, far better than the other manager they had and they'll be a lot more respected from us in the game. Benitez's behaviour towards us was absolutely disgusting and it did affect our season. I know for a fact that Roy would not go down that route."

As a former Manchester United player, Bruce expects to be targeted for abuse at Anfield. He added: "I get 'Fat Head' at Liverpool, 'the Elephant Man' at Man City and 'Mr Potato Head' at West Brom. Is there something wrong with my head or something?"

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