Matt Ritchie thinks the decision to head for Spain has proved ‘really successful’.
As I look out my window at a very cold and snowy Tyneside landscape, it isn’t difficult to agree that Rafa has called this one correctly.
Ritchie say the better weather and ‘a good pitch’ out in Spain are paying dividends and it has given ‘an opportunity’ where they can keep working, before they ‘go again against Huddersfield’ in 13 days time.
Even better is the fact that the squad have headed off with the support of the fanbase, so often in the past these trips became divisive, as supporters had their backs up when the players jetted off under Alan Pardew after failing on the pitch.
Instead, consecutive home wins against Man Utd and Southampton have given Rafa’s team some breathing space back to the relegation spaces.
This next game against Huddersfield would really put Newcastle in a nice position on 35 points with seven left to play, so if this Spanish trip can contribute in any way to three points at the end of the month, then everybody is a winner.
“We have come away for some better weather, for a good pitch and it has been really successful.
“You can put a positive spin on us having this break, as we have got this break on the back of a good run of results.
“We have got an opportunity where we can keep working, do some training out on the pitch here in Spain, play a game, then have a bit of a breather and go again against Huddersfield.
“We are on a good run in the Premier League but we need to continue that.
“After beating Southampton we have given ourselves a little gap over the bottom three but we want to keep winning and pick up points, so hopefully safety will come with that.
“You have seen throughout the season that it is so tight and one win or one defeat changes the table so much.
“We can only control what we can control and we need to make sure that we are prepared and ready for Huddersfield – hopefully we can get three points then.”