Jamie Carragher says Sissoko switch was strange from Rafa Benitez v Sunderland

Rafa Benitez

But the pundit admits his former manager got it right for Newcastle...

Jamie Carragher says Rafael Benitez's substitution for Newcastle United against Sunderland was 'strange' on Sunday afternoon, according to Sky Sports.

Indeed, the pundit was surprised to see Moussa Sissoko switched to left-back.

But he admits it worked, as Newcastle clawed back an equaliser to draw 1-1 with their bitter rivals.

Carragher told Sky after the Sunderland stalemate: "That goal today was vital and Rafa's changes had a big impact. He brought [Jack] Colback off and put Sissoko at left-back, which was a bit of a strange one, and he took [Andros] Townsend off, but those changes worked.

"It was a huge goal for them."

That's what you get from Rafa, of course. There's method in the madness - and there's always madness in Benitez's methods.

The Newcastle boss's achievement against Sunderland was quite a huge one. Considering the fact the Magpies had lost six derbies against the Black Cats in a row, getting a draw from behind was very impressive.

But, when you consider Benitez has won the Champions League, La Liga and even come close to the Premier League title, that's the least one would really expect of the Newcastle head coach against Sunderland.

Next up for Newcastle is a six-pointer against Norwich City, which has now become even bigger than the derby.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch