Rafa Benitez has explained today why he has turned to experience and has brought back 30 year-old Papiss Cisse and 29 year-old Cheick Tiote into the first team.
Both have performed very well for the new boss with Papiss getting a good goal last week at Liverpool – his first since last November at Crystal Palace.
The goal, early in the second half last week at Anfield, allowed Newcastle to make an incredible second half comeback and get to 2-2 – and a point that could yet be vital in the relegation struggle.
Rafa Benitez congratulates Cheick Tiote
Cisse and Tiote had been largely ignored by Steve McClaren, although both had also been fighting with injuries earlier this season.
Rafa was full of praise for the two veterans at the club:
“I was really pleased with the way that they were working, trying to be fit and trying to impress me.” .
“Then I knew that they were very good players, because I was watching a lot of games before, and a lot of people here they were telling me that they were good players.”
“They needed confidence, and when they were fit I gave them confidence. They gave me everything.”
Cheick Tiote in particular has turned in some great performances for us lately and we expect both players to start this afternoon against Crystal Palace at St. James´ Park – in a game we just have to win.