Andros Townsend pinpoints the BIG change at Newcastle under Rafa Benitez
Andros Townsend's hopeful that Newcastle United have turned a corner '“ ahead of a dramatic relegation run-in.
Rafa Benitez’s side came from behind to draw 2-2 with Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Newcastle had started badly – Daniel Sturridge scored a second-minute goal – and Adam Lallana seemingly put the game beyond them with a second goal.
But second-half strikes from Papiss Cisse and Jack Colback claimed a point for the relegation-threatened club.
Townsend, while frustrated with another slow start, was heartened by the character shown by the team at Anfield, where second-bottom United haven’t won a Premier League game in 22 years.
“We made it hard for ourselves,” said the January signing.
“Before the game we were saying to stay in the game and don’t concede an early goal like at Southampton.
“We didn’t do that, but in the second half we showed great character and great courage to come back.
“It’s such a difficult place to come and get a result, but we did that.
“Our quality’s not been our problem this season, it’s maybe been the fight and determination and willingness to run, tackle and head the ball.
“In the past two or three weeks, we’ve shown that in abundance.
“Hopefully, this can be a turning point and we can get the points we need.
“When you’re winning football matches and picking up points against good teams, it breeds confidence.
“Even at half time, we believed if we got an early goal that we could go on and get another one.
“I think confidence is a massive thing in football. You see what Leicester have done.”
Newcastle’s 2,650-strong support at Anfield didn’t see the second-half comeback coming at the break.
United were second-best in every department to Jurgen Klopp’s side, who had beaten Everton 4-0 in the Merseyside derby three days earlier.
Benitez had a simple message for his players in the dressing room.
Asked what Benitez said at the interval, winger Townsend added: “He basically said ‘you’ve got nothing to lose now – keep going and leave it all on the pitch’.
“That’s what we did. We got the point, and hopefully it can be a massive point.”
The draw, which followed a four-point haul from back-to-back home games against Manchester City and Swansea City, ended a run of 10 successive defeats away from home in all competitions.
“Now we’re confident,” said Townsend. “We got a point against City and won against Swansea.
“Now we’re full of confidence. It was a kick in the teeth to concede in the first minute.
“It’s always difficult, especially when you come to Anfield, to concede in the first minute.
“But we gathered ourselves in the first minute and came away with a deserved point after a great second-half performance.”
Newcastle are a point behind 17th-placed Sunderland, who climbed out of the bottom three yesterday after a goalless draw against Arsenal at the Stadium of Light.
Norwich City, in 18th place, do not play again until Saturday evening, when they take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Next up for United are Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace, who beat them 5-1 at Selhurst Park in November.