Matt Le Tissier claims Rafael Benitez was justified playing Papiss Cisse

Rafa Benitez 02

Matt Le Tissier has defended Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez.

Pundit Matt Le Tissier has told Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday that he thinks Rafael Benitez has been justified by playing Papiss Cisse instead of Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The relegation-threatened Magpies rallied from 2-0 down to claim a valuable 2-2 draw at Liverpool on Saturday, meaning they now lie just one point adrift of safety.

Whatever manager Rafael Benitez said at half time certainly worked, and so did one of his selection decisions before the game had even started at Anfield.

With Benitez putting his faith in experience, he once again chose to start with Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse up front, despite the fact that he had only scored two goals this season before Saturday, and his last goal came way back in November.

That meant that the much younger Aleksandar Mitrovic was left on the bench, even though he had notched three goals and an assist in his previous six matches.

Cisse came up trumps for Benitez though, as he scored the goal to get Newcastle back in the game before Jack Colback's vital equaliser, and manager Benitez has been defended by pundit Matt Le Tissier.

Le Tissier told Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday that it was a 'bold decision' from Benitez to play Cisse over Mitrovic, but feels the Spaniard was justified after Cisse scored and Mitrovic made little impact from the bench - and suggested it was a specific gameplan from Benitez to keep Cisse on for an hour, and then send Mitrovic on.

"I think it was his first goal in eight or nine games, so it was a bold decision," said Le Tissier. "But it worked. He took him off after about an hour, so that must have been the gameplan right from the start, to get Cisse up there. He's a bit more mobile, a bit quicker than Mitrovic, then threw Mitrovic on for the last 25 minutes, maybe half an hour. Mitrovic didn't really get in the game to be honest, so from the two performances, you'd probably say he was justified playing Papiss Cisse," he added.

Do you think Cisse should be playing ahead of Mitrovic?

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