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Luis Boa Morte thanks Patrick Vieira

last updated Saturday 15th September 2001, 10:45 AM
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Fulham striker Luis Boa Morte can thank the wisdom of a former Arsenal team-mate for helping him deal with the demons that provoked a rash act on the pitch last season and a subsequent delay to his Premiership campaign.

Boa Morte, who spent two seasons at Highbury and lines up against his former side at Craven Cottage today, turned to troubled Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira after the Portuguese's red card for spitting at Bolton's Robbie Elliott last March.

Vieira is no stranger to such an experience, having been suspended for spitting in the face of West Ham defender Neil Ruddock two years earlier.

Boa Morte said: 'We talked a bit about it and Patrick helped me. He gave me a little advice and it helped me come to terms with what happened. I've still got some very good friends at Arsenal and I speak to Patrick often.'

The forward's subsequent ban meant a delayed start to his Premiership season following Fulham's promotion and more time to reflect on his on-pitch behaviour.

He added: 'I just needed to learn from my mistakes and think about what happened. It was hard but now I need to press forward and think about the new season.'

A goal in each of Fulham's last two games are further signs that Boa Morte is learning. Making up for lost time has become a familiar theme in his young career after two years at Arsenal when he appeared to go backwards.

But Boa Morte says he has nothing to prove to his former manager Arsene Wenger today.

He said: 'I'm a different player from when I was at Arsenal because I grew up and I'm older now. Every season you learn a bit more as a player. When I was at Arsenal I was 20 years old. Now I'm 24.

'But when I play against them now I don't try to prove anything to anybody. I just play my own game the way I know it. I was just really proud to have been in Arsene Wenger's squad because he was the person who brought me into English football.

'The manager here at Fulham, Jean Tigana, has given me a lot of confidence. They are both French managers and they were both at Monaco but they are different from each other. Every manager is.'

Source Soccernet By Ivan Speck
Since 1998
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