Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has praised the reaction of his players as they came from behind to claim a 2-2 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League.
The relegation threatened Magpies couldn’t afford to lose against Benitez’s former side but it looked like the worst could happen when the Reds stormed into a 2-0 lead with 30 minutes gone.
But, after the break, Newcastle responded in style with goals from Papiss Cisse and Jack Colback earning them a share of the spoils and moving them one point from safety and the Spaniard was pleased with his charges’ efforts but insisted his team talks was not quite like his famous rallying cry in the 2005 Champions League final.
Benitez said: “We knew the first half was not the best and we needed to react so I told them similar to what I said in the past: ‘Nothing to lose’.
“We had to fight and show more character and I think the players had a fantastic reaction.
“Liverpool were playing well and it was difficult to stop them.
“But this was different [to Istanbul]. That was a final, one game, and now it is a race in which we have to keep going.
“Hopefully it will be the same and I will be really pleased.
“I am pleased with the point against a very good team and hopefully they [Liverpool] can do well in the Europa League.
“We have to do our job and see what happens with the other games but at least we showed character and the belief is still there, which is crucial for us.”
Benitez’s name was chanted by the Kop at kick-off and by both sets of fans at the final whistle.
“It is very emotional; the fans, the city and the club I have a very good relationship with Liverpool and my family still live here,” he added.
“It was emotional because the Liverpool and Newcastle fans were singing my name. It was really pleasing.”