Newcastle star Ayoze Perez raves about influence Rafael Benitez has had at St James' Park

The Spaniard has certainly bolstered the Magpies' hopes of securing Premier League survival.

Ayoze Perez has heaped praise upon Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez and claimed that he has been the catalyst for change in fortunes at St James' Park, the Chronicle reports.

When the Spaniard arrived at the club, the Magpies had been on a run of five defeats in their previous six games. And while Benitez went four games without a win at the beginning of his tenure, things have certainly become a lot more positive in recent weeks.

Newcastle sit outside the bottom three having won two of their last four while also picking up very respectable draws with both Manchester City and Liverpool. And Perez has suggested that it is down to the former Real Madrid boss that their situation looks much more encouraging.

"It's really good that he's here, for me and the team," he told the Chronicle.

"We are doing really well. Things are changing at the club and we can see that."

While both Sunderland and Norwich have a game in hand over the Magpies, the fact that Newcastle face Aston Villa during the penultimate week of the season means that they stand a fantastic chance of securing the points they need to secure their survival before the final day. 

And if the side do manage to beat the drop, many - including Perez - will point to Benitez's appointment as the moment that saved the club's season.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch