By Harry Sykes

Rafael Benitez hailed the “fantastic” performance of Papiss Cisse in the wake of Newcastle’s 3-0 win over Swansea.

The Magpies kept alive their hopes of avoiding relegation with a convincing Premier League win, the first in Benitez’s five matches in charge.

Goals from Jamaal Lascelles, stand-in skipper Moussa Sissoko and Andros Townsend clinched the three points for Newcastle and lifted them to within three points of 17th-placed Norwich with a game in charge.

The North-east giants can even leapfrog Norwich if they emerge victorious from Tuesday’s Premier League home clash against Manchester City.

Benitez paid tribute to the improved display from the players following last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Southampton and named those who had impressed him.

“Striker Papiss Cisse was fantastic up front and Aleksandar Mitrovic was good too when he came on,” said Benitez on Saturday evening, as quoted by the BBC Sport website. “When you win games everybody is happy. Today we saw what we expect from this team.

“I have to say congratulations to the players. They showed passion and commitment. The players that started were really good. And the other players who came on helped the team. Today we saw what we expect from this team. We have to show the same in the other games.”

In other Newcastle news, club legend Alan Shearer has given his verdict on Twitter of the results of the Newcastle and Sunderland games.

Sam Allardyce’s team won 3-0 at Norwich in the early Saturday kick-off.