Leicester beat Newcastle 1-0 at the King Power Stadium, in what was Benitez’s first match in charge.
Although the Spaniard would have wanted to start off with a win, he could at least take some encouragement from his new side’s performance, and Sissoko’s display was particularly pleasing.
“I was really pleased with Sissoko,” Benitez said. “I was telling him that he had to go, to get into the box and he was there getting chances. There were lots of positives from players that want to be seen and want to be important.”
Sissoko showed a great willingness to break forward against Leicester, and he managed to come close to scoring twice.
The French midfielder first chased down a loose back pass and nearly capitalised, before he put a header just wide of the post.
Sissoko’s form had been criticised during the latter stages of Steve McClaren’s reign, but his performance last night was a reminder of the quality that he does possess.
Newcastle’s defeat to Leicester means that they remain in 19th place in the Premier League table, and they now have just nine games to make it out of the relegation zone.
The Magpies’ next match comes against Sunderland on Sunday.