Matt Ritchie has paid tribute to Rafa Benitez.

The Newcastle winger pointing out how the manager keeps it together even when things are going against the team.

Last season NUFC went nine Premier League matches without a win, this time they started with ten and no victories.

Yet despite this, Matt Ritchie says that Rafa always stays calm and this helps the players to do the same.

The two victories have done wonders for the morale of team and fans but the reality is that Newcastle are still only one point above the relegation zone.

The winger thinks the international break has come at the right time, despite being on the back of having two wins, as it gives them a chance to recharge their batteries.

One thing I never understand with Rafa Benitez and Matt Ritchie, is that so often he is the first to be subbed.

On Saturday with Bournemouth putting pressure on, it was Ritchie who was hooked first.

Very strange when he is a player with boundless energy.

In 11 starts, that was the sixth time this season he has been subbed.

Matt Ritchie turned down Scotland to stay with Newcastle these two weeks and hopefully we will reap the benefits of that.

Matt Ritchie speaking to Talksport:

“One of his (Rafa Benitez’) best qualities, is how calm he is, in all situations.

“The bigger picture is exactly what he always looks at.

“We had to take a lot of criticism last season, this season too, for sort of parking the bus against the bigger teams.

“But at the end of the day, goal difference was massive for us (last season) and pushed us up a few places

I think the bigger picture is something that he definitely takes into account and the way he stays so calm, even when we had gone nine games without a win…it is a stressful period for everyone involved.

“The manager is the leader of that and he stayed very calm, always believed in us.

“The players believed in themselves too, so hopefully we’ve come through that now and can kick on.

“As you can imagine, the spirits have really been lifted after these couple of wins.

“The victories have helped and it hast been a really positive past few week, something that we really needed as everyone knows.

“In my opinion, the break has come at a very good time for us.

“We had a tough start to the season and it was mentally draining.

“But we now have two wins under our belt, so we can reset over the next few days, get some good (training) sessions in us.

“We have had a few injuries, a few niggles, so hopefully we can get our bodies back to where they need to be and then go again.

“We need to build on what we have done over the last couple of weeks,we all know that.”

  • Billmag

    The lad has answered your question he’s mentally drained that’s the reason that he pulled out of the Scottish squad, Matty put’s a hell of a shift in for the team but we need even more from him i.e. goals and assists.

  • Paul Patterson

    Just because he’s fit, doesn’t mean he needs running into the ground, physically and mentally.

    • Big Al 1967

      Exactly right you could visibly see on Saturday that both Ritchie and Kenedy had nothing left to give hence they came off

  • Leazes.

    Ranieri has taken over at Fulham.

    • Peaky

      Ohfuck… Silver Nappa is still available….!!

      • Leazes.

        Are you still having nightmares?

      • Kenny

        waiting for the call

  • Jamie

    You’ve answered your own question!
    He starts every game because he is so important to Rafa’s plans and the reason he starts is because he never plays the full 90 minutes which means he is always fit.
    This is real football not FIFA 19 on the PlayStation

  • JohnnyH

    Carefully chosen comments, Jamaal should maybe take note.
    I’d never knock Matt Ritchie, he always gives his best

    • Kneebotherm8

      Good player,great attitude…….

  • Wor Lass

    He`s a whole-hearted player who clearly wants to win but his end product has dropped. He works his socks off but it seems to be in the middle third of the pitch and he definitely seems to do more of that letting players go and pointing at them the longer the game goes on. I like the lad and he`s worth his start every time but I do think he needs to deliver a bit more quality into the box. No doubt he`s subbed so much, as he hints, because his body and mind can`t take the demands he puts on them for 90 minutes.

  • Rich Lawson

    There are unsaid things here with Scotland,same with his on/off move last season,family/emotional problem that we don’t need to know, so all credit to him for still trying to do the business.

  • Mxpx

    Surely it’s because against every big team we’ve parked the bus and we’re often chasing a goal towards the end meaning the obvious thing is to inject some pace in the shape of Jacob Murphy