By Harry Sykes

Alan Shearer praised Rafael Benitez for uniting the Newcastle dressing room after they drew 1-1 against Manchester City on Tuesday night.

The Champions League semi-finalists had taken a 14th minute lead through a clinical header from Sergio Aguero, which was his 100th Premier League goal.

Roared on by a vociferous St James’ Park crowd, Newcastle equalised after 31 minutes through an outstanding strike from right-back Vurnon Anita.

BBC pundit and Newcastle legend Shearer was impressed by the spirit displayed by his former team.

The Magpies have now taken four points from their last two Premier League matches to give a major boost to their hopes of top flight safety.

“Certainly on tonight’s evidence, and on Saturday’s, there’s now a togetherness,” Shearer told Radio Five Live. “The fans appreciate now that the players are giving everything.

“They’ve given themselves an opportunity – three points on Saturday and a point tonight which is not a disaster. On tonight’s evidence, the players are certainly with Benitez.”

Newcastle remain in 19th position in the table but they have narrowed the gap on 17th-placed Norwich to two points and they are just one adrift of Sunderland, who have a game in hand on their north-east rivals.

City remain in third place in the Premier League but they are a distant 12 points behind leaders Leicester and seven points behind Tottenham in second.

In other Newcastle news, Benitez has explained why he is so impressed by Moussa Sissoko, who skippered the side for a second consecutive match against City.