Papiss Cisse outlines the key reason for Newcastle's recent improvement

The Magpies striker says Rafael Benitez has "made everybody happy" and that the players have a true connection with the manager.

Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse has credited Rafael Benitez with the side's recent improvement, telling the Mirror that the players have a true connection with the manager and want to give 100% every day for the Spaniard.

It took the Magpies four games to get their first win under the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss after he took over from Steve McClaren on 11 March, but they finally recorded three points with a 3-0 victory over Swansea City on Saturday.

Then, on Tuesday night, Benitez's side showed the kind of fighting spirit which has been missing for all too long this season by holding Champions League semi-finalists Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at St. James' Park.

Cisse, who has made just 18 appearances for the club in a campaign hampered by injury, has started three of the last four matches under the 55-year-old, and believes the manager inspires faith and happiness in his players.

The 30-year-old striker told the Mirror: "One moment it's difficult to get confidence when you're working hard, but losing the game and your head's going down.

"But when the new gaffer came he's made everybody happy and given the chance for everyone to show the people how he'd like everyone to play.

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

Newcastle have given themselves a much better chance of survival by earning four points from their last two games, and now sit just two points adrift of safety with four matches remaining ahead of the weekend trip to Anfield.

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