This Player Has Definitely Improved Under Rafa’s Guidance


Matt Ritchie scored the winner against Arsenal on Sunday at St. James’ Park, and while he found it difficult to score goals earlier this season, he seems to be rekindling his goal-scoring form at the right time.

Matt cost us about 10M from Bournemouth, and he has been an excellent signing for us.

He scored a fantastic 16 goals with 9 assists in the Championship last season and is a starter again this season.

This season he has 3 goals and 5 assists so far.

Matt has talked about how he has improved since he arrived and admits there are elements of the game he didn’t even know about until he joined up with Rafa on Tyneside.

A delighted Matt Ritchie after scoring the winner on Sunday

This is what Matt has said as reported in the Chronicle:

“We’ve got a real good opportunity of finishing in the top ten.”

“That’s down to us now. We need to continue to perform as we have done.”

“Rafa’s definitely improved me, yes.” 

“There are small details with different managers that you take on board. Every manager’s got different ideas and ways of playing.”

“But there are details in my game that I didn’t have when I arrived.”

“Definitely off the ball I have improved, and more so as a team.”

“You see when we haven’t got the ball we’re so compact and hard to break down, whether that’s against Man City or teams that were in and around us.”

“We’re always hard to beat. We’ve never been rolled over, not once this season. We’ve always lost games by very small margins.”

“We’ve always been in games. I think that’s very important at this level.”

“We gave ourselves a chance in the second half [on Sunday]. I remember Arsenal away we were beaten 1-0, but we were always pushing in the game.”

“You will always get chances.”

As Rafa continues to improve the Newcastle squad players like Matt will know they will have increased competition.

And they will need to keep improving to retain their first team places in the side.

Comments welcome.


57 comments so far

  • Oldgit1

    Apr 18, 2018 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #1

    @ Bobbybee re your grandson, I must be a bad grandad, when my Grandbairn was born his dad, a Mackam, had bought his first baby grower a Sunderland one, knowing his dad was a wrong un which I was proved right, I replaced the Sunderland one with a Newcastle one, burning the Sunderland strip. His dad didn’t stick around and hasn’t seen or visited his son for over 10 years. I can say though that I have spared the bairn from years of misery if I had just stood by and allowed him to be a Sunderland fan. So maybe I’m not such a bad grandad. He goes with me to see Newcastle and when not able, we watch spennymoor. He loves his football, but not as much as I love him.

    17
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #2

    Competition for places has to be part of any club that wants to improve.
    I don’t think Rafa wants mega millions to spend on improving the squad. I think all he asks for is to be able to buy the players he wants. Again, I don’t see him going to superstars either,he just wants to be able to buy players he thinks he can improve – which has to be good for Ashley too.
    I’m not expecting a sale any time soon tbh. Not unless somebody is willing to meet his asking price without lots of haggling. He’s set his price, he’s a stubborn git and won’t budge far on it.
    If he just let’s the club run itself, that will do. Pay the overheads and whatever’s left, give it to Rafa.

    2
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #3

    Great Post Oldgit1. 🙂 I just hope my grandson gets to see a bit more success than I have!! Wouldn’t change it though. With all the failures I’ve witnessed, being one of less than ten thousand in a miserable ground etc, what I know for a fact is that when we do win something, it’ll mean more to me than all those Manure cups put together.

    3
  • Pottsclock

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #4

    Torres is clearly past it. He’s 34 and had already lost his pace when he last left the premiership..so no thanks.

    0
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #5

    If Rafa is backed by whoever runs the club – Ashley for now, whoever later – and he stays for a decade, we will see silverware. He’ll win us something. Anything will do. League Cup, FA Cup, Europa League, I can’t honestly say I’m bothered. The PL is probably a step too far unless Ashley is replaced by a mega rich owner, but any trophy will do.
    I never got to see the Fairs Cup final. Rangers’ fans spoiled any chance I had of going to that game, being young and having sensible parents I suppose. Watched it on TV, but it’s not the same. Seen us lose at Wembley more than once, so just a trophy before I peg out will do. The more the merrier like. 🙂

    2
  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #6

    As Jimmy Nail said underneath the Tyne Bridge. “Never forget yer roots son”.

    0
  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #7
  • RobLeenio

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #8

    Bobby, agree and I think Rafa has proven that he doesn’t need mega bucks, he can work with incremental upgrades to players on the training pitch. However, I think he would like to know that when he identifies a player who would materially improve our squad, the club will go all out to sign that player. He’s missed out on several (Townsend, Abraham, Jorgenssen, Sturridge for eg off the top of my head) that he really wanted, no matter the perceived merits of each from posters on here, often because the club dithered or flat-out refused to action his requests.

    0
  • Geordie-john

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #9

    Why have the makems cancelled the tickets that they think the toon supports might have ? It was ok for them to fly banners over SJP when it suited them wasn’t it ?? So why can’t they take sh#t from us for a change ?? They should be grateful that some of our supporters want to give them funds for their travels that they won’t be able to afford down in the lower leagues next season. Double standards I think. So you should give it if you can’t take it back SMB’s

    9
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #10

    Mickey, when my mam and dad split up and I left Morpeth to move with my mam, whenever I used to visit my grandparents my granddad used to always wag a finger at me and say. “I don’t care where you move. I don’t care where you live or how far away it is, never ever forget you’re a Geordie. You’ll always be a Geordie as long as you have a hole in your ass, and that’s seven years after you get planted”. Classic. 🙂

    3
  • Geordie-john

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #11

    Sorry spelling mistake, It should have been SHOULN’T not should

    1
  • Geordie-john

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #12

    Sorry my big hands have big fingers attached to them LOL

    1
  • Geordie-john

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #13

    SHOULDN’T

    2
  • Spoof

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #14

    Bobbybee

    A while back I got slated off my mates because I said that I would take a league cup win and relegation at the same time rather than have a top 4 finish, all I want is to see a Newcastle captain lift a cup above his head to start the biggest party that we will ever have, I’m 52 next month, I wonder what fans would prefer, us two old dafties with our cups or a money making top four spot, this could be an interesting debate.

    0
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #15

    I think Jimmy Nail must known my granddad!!! 🙂

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #16

    That clip’s hilarious – “never forget your roots, son” – as he boards a bus for Chapel Park….
    😉

    0
  • Oldgit1

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #17

    I was at the rangers v Newcastle fairs cup match, our bus got bombarded with bricks. Recall my dad throwing himself over me with broken glass flying around. Never seen such hatered being displayed. I remember that some of the police were throwing bricks as well. I think it was more to do with us being English than Newcastle in them days.
    Still good days. Didn’t realise that this was the only thing we would win in 50 odd years.

    0
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #18

    Top four or a cup Spoof? No competition in my mind. Just being at Wembley again minus the disappointment and I’ll die a happy man! 🙂

    1
  • Budge123

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #19

    A cup of some sort Spoof. All day long
    But then I’m long in the tooth also!

    0
  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #20

    Bobbybee, I’ve lived in numerous countries around the world, and you can always, ALWAYS guarantee that in any ex-pat pub there’ll be a Geordie. And a Scotsman weirdly enough.

    We never forget who we are or where we’re from, it’s that same bond that makes us love the team that tries, they try their best when they wear The Shirt. That’s what we want, we don’t want players who don’t see what the club means, who just see it as another pay day or a stepping stone.

    That’s one of the reasons Rafa should be applauded, he brought a broken and down at heel club and city together, restored wor pride and brought untold millions in terms of productivity and tourism to Newcastle.

    Lump in throat for what that man has done for us.

    5
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #21

    Oldgit1, the irony was, when I was banned from going to night games after the Rangers crap, my mam said “Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty other times you can watch them win a cup”.
    Great insight mam! 🙂

    1
  • Jib

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #22

    Sunderland have cancelled a number of tickets in the away end
    for their final game of the season because they believe they have
    fallen into the hands of Newcastle United fans

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #23

    Has to be a cup for me, I’ve never seen us win anything in my lifetime, except for the Intertoto cup. Still sounds like the band who sang ‘Africa’ more than a serious football competition. I’ve seen top four and it doesn’t do that much to get your blood racing.

    We’ve frozen at Wembley before when we visited with Keegan and Dalglish. Can’t see that happening under Rafa if we ever get there.

    Saying that, I have a feeling League success and Cup success are not exclusive to each other. If we continue to improve, we should see success in both and I’d love a good European campaign, not in the next couple of seasons maybe, but it has to be in Rafa’s 5 year plan. Otherwise how do you truly entice the top players?

    0
  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #24

    RobLeenio

    Comment #16
    That clip’s hilarious – “never forget your roots, son” – as he boards a bus for Chapel Park….

    Yes, but if you know the series, he was going back to his mams before going to Milan with his mam’s boyfriend/stepfather.

    1
  • Jail for Ashley

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #25

    Jimmy,
    RE selling a keeper, of course, I forgot all about Selz, aye, he’s toast.

    0
  • barkel

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #26

    Winning a cup or Top 4, if I had to pick one it would have to be a cup win, although I do long for a return to the champions league. I’m not old enough to have been around for the fairs cup but I did get to see us winning the Irish International Soccer Tournament in ’97 pre season so that must be worth something I guess!

    0
  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #27

    I agree barkel, an FA cup, even a League cup win, will be brilliant.

    0
  • lochinvar

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:52 PM

    Comment #28

    Jib
    Sunderland have cancelled a number of tickets in the away end
    for their final game of the season because they believe they have
    fallen into the hands of Newcastle United fans

    Now that sounds like racism and discrimination to me. Time for the FA to act.

    1
  • Jib

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #29

    If Leicester can win the PL under Ranieri
    It should be a piece of piss for Rafa

    0
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #30

    Nice day for a change. Good forecast too. Too nice to be sitting indoors so time me and our lass headed into town to buy this wee strip.
    The granddaughter wants something called num noms? Anybody a clue wtf they are and where I go to buy them? HELP!!!

    0
  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 18, 2018 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #31

    Num noms are basically ket, sweets, haribo, pink shrimps, cola bottles, cheap ket mate.

    0
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #32

    Mickey, naw, these are toys and stuff. Little characters as far as I can see. (just checking online as it goes). One little character looks like a burger and one like a hot dog!!! Looks like argos is the place to go.

    0
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 1:06 PM

    Comment #33

    Maybe toys R us. Is that still open? Heard they were going bust. Metro centre seems to be on the cards. Oh gawd, I hate that place! 🙂 Still, SJP first. I was thinking of getting her a strip too but she’s a girly girl, she might not appreciate it. 🙂

    0
  • ben.g

    Apr 18, 2018 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #34

    Bobby.

    I see morpeth town are due to play toon’s under 23s soon. Couldn’t see the date though.
    Although I’m sure you already know!

    0
  • ben.g

    Apr 18, 2018 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #35

    Num noms are little packs of figures bobby.
    They come in packs of 8. Like moshi monsters or trash pack.
    Argos have them. Toys r us must do

    0
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 1:16 PM

    Comment #36

    Ben g, so I hear. I live just outside Ashington now mate, but I might pop along to that. Just up the road. My brother’s just moved to Blyth but he used to go and watch Morpeth a bit. I’m a total one club man, don’t have much interest in local football, although I do buy a lottery ticket for Ashington FC just to give them a bit of support. Think we won a fiver once lol.
    Used to go watch the academy and U23’s all the time before my spine decided to start crumbling. Getting harder and harder to get to any game, but I won’t stop going to SJP until they nail me in that box. 🙂

    0
  • ben.g

    Apr 18, 2018 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #37

    I’m the same bobby. Just Newcastle for me too. I’m a morpeth lad really but follow them. Was pleased when they went to Wembley and won the cup. Toon is entertaining enough for me!

    1
  • ben.g

    Apr 18, 2018 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #38

    That was meant to read ” I don’t follow them”

    0
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #39

    Cheers Ben. Yeah, just looked them up, weird little critters but if that’s what she wants then that’s what she’ll get. 🙂
    Right, I’ll get going then. Can’t wait to see this little kit on the bairn. Never going to buy him a Norwich kit was I? Bring the poor lad out in a rash, bless him.
    If he ever decides he wants to follow Norwich I’ll oblige – he growls through gritted teeth – but I feel it’s my duty to try and get him converted now he’s started school. Chances are the rest of his school mates are Manure, Chelsea, Spurs fans etc so at least he’ll be the classy kid in school. 🙂

    3
  • Bobbybee

    Apr 18, 2018 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #40

    Ben, my brother was born and raised in Morpeth. He’s 51 now, you might know him depending on how old you are. Moved to Ashington a while ago though, but spent most his life in Morpeth. He’s just moved to Blyth last month though. Comes to the game with me when work allows it.
    Anyway, times a ticking. Enjoy blogging chaps. Be nice to each other. 😉

    1

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