Rafa Benitez delighted Newcastle’s players and fans have reconnected

Vurnon Anita celebrates his goal
Vurnon Anita celebrates his goal
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Rafa Benitez says Newcastle United now have “belief” they can beat the drop – thanks to the club’s fans.

Benitez’s side drew 1-1 with Manchester City in a pulsating game at St James’ Park last night.

Newcastle United's Rafael Benitez applauds the crowd

Newcastle United's Rafael Benitez applauds the crowd

And the second-bottom club is now just two points adrift of Premier League safety.

City took the lead through Sergio Aguero, but the striker was a yard offside when he headed a disputed free-kick home.

But United fought back strongly and Vurnon Anita levelled in the 31st minute.

Newcastle pushed hard for a second-half winner, but had to settle for a point.

United manager Benitez feels the players re-established a “connection” with their fans ahead of Saturday’s match at Anfield against his former club Liverpool.

“We have to believe we can fight and beat anyone,” said Benitez.

“We have had two games in a row where we have had a great performance of the team and a great connection with the fans. To see the team and fans together again, believing and fighting, is the main thing.

“The players are playing with passion and great commitment. Everyone is pleased, and hopefully we will continue in the same way in the remaining games.”

Newcastle are now a point behind Sunderland, who have a game in hand.

On the table, Benitez added: “For us, it is not (time) to look at the table, we have to concentrate on the next game.

“If you are doing numbers you are wasting time. We have to try to get three points and approach the games with the same idea.”