Rafa Benitez is hopeful that an apologetic Jonjo Shelvey will keep his cool as the Championship hots up.
Shelvey was sent off for reacting to provocation from Nottingham Forest’s Henri Lansbury in the club’s 2-1 defeat at the City Ground.
He knew he made a mistake. If he wants to grow, and I think he does, he has to keep doing the same thing he has been during the season.Rafa Benitez
The red card was rescinded on appeal and the midfielder will face Birmingham City at St James’s Park this afternoon.
United manager Benitez has revealed that Shelvey apologised to his team-mates for the dismissal.
Asked if he had spoken to Shelvey this week, Benitez said: “I didn’t have to say anything to him because he was apologising to everyone.
“He knew he made a mistake. If he wants to grow, and I think he does, he has to keep doing the same thing he has been during the season.
“He has been one of the best players in the team because he came back from the summer really focused. He was concentrating, training really well and listening to everyone.
“Then this thing that happened the other day proved that he has to stay focused and do his job like he was before.
“I’m confident he can do that. When I talk to him or see him playing, I realise there’s a very good player who has to have this control.
“It’s a question of time. He has to be more mature in his reaction, but I think he has to learn.
“We’ve talked about (Aleksandar) Mitrovic in the past, it’s a question of each one.
“Normally with him he’s fine in 99% of the situations and you have one per cent where he loses control.
“Hopefully he can control even this one per cent.”
Benitez says he is now worried about Shelvey being targeted in future.
“All the teams have one or two players who lose their temper a little bit earlier than the others,” said Benitez.
“I think he’s learning. He has more experience, which is the key.”
Shelvey will go before an independent commission later this month after denying a Football Association misconduct charge.
The 24-year-old is alleged to have used racially-aggravated language towards a Wolverhampton Wanderers player in September.