Football: Cisse hopes Newcastle chemistry is formula for survival

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez at a football match between  Newcastle United and Manchester City on April 19, 2016.
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez at a football match between Newcastle United and Manchester City on April 19, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse believes the improved chemistry between manager Rafael Benitez and his Magpies team-mates has helped the relegation-threatened side increase their chances of avoiding the drop.

Benitez took over at St James' Park from Steve McClaren last month and despite losing three of his first four games, the Spaniard managed to instil renewed belief in the squad, which helped them pick up four points from their last two matches.

"When the new gaffer came in he's made everybody happy and given the chance for everyone to show the team how he'd like everyone to play," Cisse told the British media.

"Everyone has had this feeling to give 100 per cent every time on the training ground and in the game.... we have a connection with the gaffer, we speak to him and I think it's a good thing."

Newcastle, however, remain second from bottom in the Premier League and are currently two points adrift of safety with four games left, after they held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at home on Tuesday.

Benitez is next set for an emotional return to former club Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday and Cisse is keen to see the side end their woeful away form, having lost 14 times on their travels so far this campaign.

"It's never going to be easy to go to Liverpool but we have a team now who is ready to play and take on any team - and we have to do so. We can change the away form," Cisse said.

"The work and the form we have at home, we have to take that into the away games. We need to do something at Anfield and try to win the game."

Liverpool are themselves in a rich vein of form, however, having won six and drawn one of their last eight league games, as well as overcoming Borussia Dortmund 5-4 on aggregate to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Newcastle's last Premier League win at Anfield came in April 1994.