Cheick Tiote insists Newcastle are fighting for Rafa Benitez
By Alice Piper
Last Updated: 30/04/16 5:23pm
Cheick Tiote believes he and his Newcastle team-mates owe it to manager Rafa Benitez to fight for their Premier League survival ahead of Saturday's clash with Crystal Palace.
Newcastle are one point adrift of safety in 19th position, but have taken five points from their last three games with impressive draws against Liverpool and Manchester City coming after a 3-0 win over Swansea.
Tiote says he has total belief Newcastle will rescue their season with three games remaining and is determined to repay Benitez for the confidence he has instilled in the players.
Speaking exclusively to Soccer Saturday, Tiote said: "Rafa [Benitez] is a top manager so we never imagined he would be at Newcastle one day, because all the teams he was training before us were top teams - Real Madrid and Liverpool - so we never imagined he would be our manager one day.
"If someone like that comes in the dressing room, we need to do everything for him. It was a risk to come, so we need to fight for him and for the fans particularly."
The midfielder, who made just 12 Premier League appearances under Steve McClaren, admitted the responsibility to remain in the top flight rests on the players.
"We need to realise it's not about the chairman, it's about us," Tiote added. "If we want things to change, it's us, we need to do decide.
"We need to do everything. The manager can't come on and score for us or defend for us - it's about the players. We need to realise that.
"We are more than warriors. We are fighters, because the Premier League is not only about quality.
"You can have so many good players but if you don't fight it's really difficult to get something, so now it's not about quality and it's about fighting.
"We fight for the team, for the club and for everyone."