We watched the Real Madrid vs Valencia game last night – both clubs have been managed in the past by Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez and what was apparent was the way Newcastle are playing this season is very much like that of both the top Spanish clubs – and we suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised by that.
Matt Ritchie is one of Newcastle’s new stars this season and he has said today he relishes playing for a big club like Newcastle United and also for Rafa Benitez who has won lots of trophies to prove his pedigree as a top class manager.
Matt Ritchie after scoring against Wolves
Matt is producing at Newcastle and he was our Man of the Match in the great 2-0 win on Tuesday night in the 3rd round of the EFL Cup with a goal and an assist – all within three minutes of the first half.
And last night we got a good 4th round draw – Preston North End at Home – so we have a decent chance to reach the quarter finals of the competition.
This is what Matt has said in the Mirror today:
“That was a reason I wanted to play at this huge club with lots of fans cheering you on and bringing a heck of a lot of pressure.”
“It’s something I believe brings the best out of me.” “I’m loving it. I feel like if I just relax, play my own game and just let it happen then I can bring some quality by providing goals and assists.”
“The reason I joined is not because of the situation we’re in. Don’t get me wrong it’s a challenge I relish and that I think everyone at the club is relishing.”
“But the reason I wanted to join Newcastle United is because it’s a massive club and when it’s back in the Premier League it will get back to being a big, big top-flight club.”
“You just have to look at the manager and the squad he is assembling to see that.”
“I’m delighted to be part of what is going on here and hopefully I can have an impact to help get Newcastle back to where we should be.”
“I thrive on pressure.” “The pedigree he has got is second to none and, if that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.”
“I’ve learned so much. It’s more of a European style of playing, with different tactics all the time.”
Benitez made 8 changes on Tuesday night and give first starts to three players – Yedlin, Lazaar and Murphy – and yet the team played well together so that’s a sign of very good coaching.
Now we know we have real strength in depth this season, so players are clear they have to perform to stay in the team.
We are at Aston Villa on Saturday followed by Norwich at home next Wednesday night, so the pressure doesn’t ease up in the Championship.
We need to win both games and then finish off with another win at Rotherham a week on Saturday when the two week International break starts.
If we can do that we’ll be very well placed in the league table.
Howay the Lads!!