Rafa Benitez and his players have created a massive turnaround this year after the first half of the season when we struggled against relegation and took one point from 9 games just before the turn of the year.
Rafa believes in hard work on the training field and hard work during games, and he has worked on his players to harden them mentally, so the never give up in games.
Newcastle have a knack even against the top sides of staying in the game, and therefore we always have a chance of winning.
We did that against both Manchester United and Arsenal and almost snatched a point at home to Champions Manchester City.
Matt Ritchie – after scoring for Newcastle
Matt Ritchie dropped down a division from Bournemouth to join Newcastle.
And he says what’s happening now is what he had hoped for when joining the Magpies in England’s second division.
We are flying at the moment, and Rafa will want to win all five games, so we go into the summer and next season with significant momentum and confidence.
There – I’ve said it!
This is what an upbeat Matt Ritchie has said today as reported in the Northern Echo:
“I always hoped I would be a part of something like this at Newcastle,”
“When I left Bournemouth, I left with a heavy heart because it was a fantastic spell in my career and I absolutely loved it down there.”
“But this was an opportunity to come to a massive football club with great potential, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
“I don’t want to get carried away because by no means have we achieved anything yet. We know that.”
“We’ve had a good run, but it’s only about a month ago that we were playing Manchester United and staring at the bottom three.”
“Had we not won that game, we might have been in a different fight.”
“But we did win that game and we’ve kicked on since then. We’ve had some good results and it feels like things are moving the right way.”
“We have to keep our feet on the ground though. We’ve achieved nothing yet, and we have to keep going with the mentality and philosophy that we’ve had all season.”
“If we do that, then yes, there’s a great opportunity to build and hopefully push on in the right direction.”
“But as you’ve seen, we’ve been on the right side of a lot of one-goal margins this season and that can quite easily turn. You see in the Premier League, it’s so tight every week.”
“It’s all about mentality,” “We give ourselves the opportunity to win games or take points from games.” That’s down to our work ethic I think.”
“On and off the ball, everyone is working so hard. That’s the difference between being on the right side and the wrong side of the result in a really tight game.”
Rafa Benitez has done a superb coaching job this season, and he has got the maximum out of the players he has, and we could well finish in the top ten and as high as 8th position.
That would be incredible, and it points to a much more successful season next term.
It will be even more certain if he’s backed this summer in the transfer market with some significant transfer funds from owner Mike Ashley.
We think he will be.