Jonjo Shelvey praises Rafael Benitez's impact at Newcastle United

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Newcastle United drew 1-1 with Sunderland at St. James' Park last weekend.

Jonjo Shelvey has told the Shields Gazette that Rafael Benitez's team-talk at half-time during Newcastle United’s derby match against Sunderland was what sparked the team into life.

Newcastle went into the break 1-0 down against Sunderland, and their performance in the first 45 minutes was poor.

Jermain Defoe had scored from a corner to put Sunderland in front, and in truth the Magpies could have been even further behind at the break.

The Black Cats were guilty of spurning a number of opportunities, and they were made to pay.

Newcastle improved in the second period, and they got their reward in the closing stages when Aleksandar Mitrovic headed in an equaliser.

And Shelvey believes that it was Benitez’s team talk that motivated Newcastle to come back.

The central midfielder said: “I’m sure Rafa will come up with a game plan because that’s what he does.

“He comes up with game plans and he’s a great organiser of teams.

“He got us going at half-time (against Sunderland) which is what we needed."

Benitez has eight games remaining to save Newcastle from the drop this season.

The Magpies are currently in 19th place in the Premier League table - and they are three points adrift of safety.

Newcastle’s next match comes against Norwich City after the international break.

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