Moussa Sissoko says Newcastle United must keep it clean – and keep 11 men on the pitch.
The club has had two players sent off in its first four Premier League games.
When you play 10 against 11 it’s hard, and when you play against a big team like Arsenal it’s too hard.
Aleksandar Mitrovic was dismissed for a clumsy challenge on Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin in last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat.
The striker’s early dismissal left Newcastle to play 75 minutes with 10 men.
Defender Daryl Janmaat was also sent off for a second bookable offence in Newcastle’s 2-0 away loss to Swansea City last month.
And midfielder Sissoko, on international duty with France, feels that United must learn lessons from those dismissals – and the 14 yellow cards they have accumulated in their first five league and cup fixtures.
“When you play 10 against 11 it’s hard, and when you play against a big team like Arsenal it’s too hard,” said Sissoko, preparing for tomorrow night’s friendly against Portugal in Lisbon.
“We tried to do our best. We showed some good things.
“Defensively, we were very good, and they scored in the second half.
“We have to learn about this game and try to be careful with tackles and fouls. We have to try to stay 11 (men on the pitch) and win the game.”
Newcastle didn’t manage a shot on target against Arsenal, but the team defended well, and the game was only decided by an own goal, with an off-target shot from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain having been deflected in by captain Fabricio Coloccini.
And 26-year-old Sissoko believes there were positives to take from United’s performance.
“We showed some very good things,” he said. “You can see we tried to play more and create some good movement and chances.
“But it was hard 10 against 11 against a big team. I hope, after the international games, we will show some good things and get a good result.”
Newcastle take on West Ham United on September 14 after the international break.