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Matt Ritchie “I’m not exactly laughing about it…”

2 years ago
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Both Newcastle United and Matt Ritchie made the headlines after Monday’s match.

The team making it a perfect November for NUFC, a maximum points return for the month set to hand Rafa Benitez a deserved Premier League Manager of the month award.

As for Matt Ritchie, it was a mixed night.

Rafa’s changed formation which included the two wingers swapping from their usual sides, certainly paid dividends. Ritchie tracking back and helping Ciaran Clark on the left, as well as doing a bit better going forward himself, whilst on the other side Kenedy certainly looked a lot brighter, particularly as he was given more license to roam and often cut inside onto his left foot and caused problems for Burnley with his dribbling.

For Matt Ritchie, it was almost a perfect night. The winger crossing an excellent ball for Ciaran Clark to head what proved to be the eventual winner, then scoring a goal of his own, or at least he should have done.

The Scottish international says ‘I’m not exactly laughing about it…’ after missing from only a yard or two out with an empty net facing him.

As always though, if you are going to do something like that, make sure you do it in a game where it ends up not costing the team.

Rafa Benitez, Newcastle fans and the media have been laughing about it, but if it had cost NUFC points, the agenda would have been very different, especially from the media.

The big positive to take from it was that at last Newcastle are providing more of a goal threat, for so long we were getting next to nobody into the box, with often just Rondon and three or four defenders making it all but impossible to score.

Despite the miss, Rafa must have been pleased to see his change of tactics and formation allowing Yedlin to get into such an advanced position, as Kenedy repeatedly dragged his marker inside, then the winger on the opposite side (Matt Ritchie) getting into the box and a scoring position.

It is pretty obvious that players other than strikers are going to have to contribute more goals, unless Rafa signs better goalscorers in January.

Salomon Rondon was quiet on Monday night and his Premier League record of nine, eight and seven goals in three seasons at West Brom, tells you that double figures would be a real result on top of his all round contribution he’s hopefully provide, after the promise of the Bournemouth match.

Newcastle have only scored 12 goals in 13 matches with a top scorer(s) on only two. Seven different players, eight if you count Monday’s own goal, have shared the goals and that needs to continue.

Would be nice to see Matt Ritchie quickly put Monday’s miss behind him with a goal against West Ham, interesting to see whether Rafa keeps to the formation that worked so well in many ways on Monday night.

Matt Ritchie:

“I’m not exactly laughing about it…because I have high expectations

“Horrific miss, horrendous, but that’s life, it is football.

“Luckily enough it’s not cost us, and I can smile about it, but inside it hurts.

“It is a miss that I will probably remember for the rest of my life but I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“I am sure it (teasing from teammates) will last forever.

“I will move on.

“I’m a strong character and I’ll make sure it doesn’t affect me.

“I have dealt with setbacks in my career and this is a minor setback.

“I want to score goals and I want to help the team. I could have made it a little bit more comfortable.

“I have made an error but my goals will come for sure.

“It will certainly prey on my mind to get a chance like that and then not take it.

“That’s frustrating but, most importantly, we have picked up a fantastic result and now we keep going.

“There is a good feeling inside the dressing room after a performance like that and that’s the most important thing.”

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