Rafa Benitez pictured wearing South Park Eric Cartman socks during Newcastle 1-1 draw with Sunderland

'Respect my authoritah' he must have felt compelled to say

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The Independent Football

Lucky socks?

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez was pictured on the touchline today in the draw with Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby wearing socks depicting South Park character Eric Cartman, or more specifically, Police Officer Cartman from the episode "Chickenlover".

So, in true trademark Police Officer Cartman style, Benitez must have asked his players to "respect his authoritah" at half-time, to inspire them to fight back from a goal down to salvadge a draw with their local rivals.

In the match, Aleksandar Mitrovic headed a late equaliser to end Newcastle's miserable losing run against neighbours and rivals Sunderland but the draw still left both teams deep in the Premier League relegation mire.

The Serbian soared at the far post to nod man-of-the-match Georginio Wijnaldum's 79th-minute chipped cross back into the opposite corner just as the home fans at St James' Park were preparing for a seventh straight defeat at the hands of the Black Cats.

Sunderland had gone ahead a minute before half-time when Jermain Defoe volleyed in his 12th goal of the season and they held out under plenty of Newcastle second-half pressure, even clearing off the line through Yann M'Vila soon after the break.