Rafa Benitez has explained how his hand was forced on Saturday and he had to take a risk with Matt Ritchie.

The United boss explaining that the winger hadn’t trained all week and so wasn’t in a position to play but put him on the bench just in case…

The last thing Rafa Benitez wanted to do was obviously to play Ritchie but with Newcastle so abysmal in the first half, that was the first change he made.

Vurnon Anita and Rolando Aarons were atrocious out wide against Huddersfield and offered absolutely nothing.

Aarons it was who was dragged off at the break and whilst clearly not 100%, just as at Fulham, Matt Ritchie was a class above the rest of the Newcastle team in Saturday’s second half.

Rafa says about his half-time substitution ‘we didn’t want to take the risk but we had to…’ and now is just praying that Matt Ritchie is alright for Reading on Wednesday night.

Rafa Benitez talking to NUFC TV:

“He (Matt Ritchie) was not training during the week so we take him on the bench just in case…

“Yes we had to play him and he did really well.

“We didn’t want to take the risk but we had to take that risk, so hopefully he will be fine.”