Matt Ritchie reveals Rafa Benitez’s methodical response to Newcastle’s opening defeats

Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie

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Matt Ritchie says Rafa Benitez has the answers to Newcastle United’s problems.

The club claimed its first win of the new Championship season on Wednesday night.

Ritchie opened his account with a penalty in a 4-1 home victory over Reading at St James’s Park.

The win for Newcastle – who take on Bristol City at Ashton Gate tomorrow – followed disappointing defeats to Huddersfield Town and Fulham.

And Ritchie feels Benitez’s work on the training ground is now starting to show on the pitch.

“We certainly didn’t lose the first two and just wonder why,” said the winger.

We certainly didn’t lose the first two and just wonder why. We analysed, the manager analysed, and that’s why the manager is the manager – because he’s so good at it.

Rafa Benitez

“We analysed, the manager analysed, and that’s why the manager is the manager – because he’s so good at it.

“The way we analysed, we worked hard during the week on some triggers and we showed in our play that we looked like we had good structure in attack, we built attacks well, we counter-attacked well as well.

“All in all it was a very good performance but it’s very early days.

“It’s three points, but we need to go again on Saturday because Bristol are a good side.”

Ritchie believes the Reading win has settled the nerves both in the dressing room and in the stands.

“Everyone around the football club knew the expectation, and it’s only human nature to feel that,” said the 26-year-old.

“It’s how you deal with it and I thought we dealt with it. There were some big question marks over us after not winning the first two games, and we’ve answered those hopefully.

“It’s foot in the right direction, and hopefully we can continue to win games.”

The City game will be played in front of the biggest crowd at the rebuilt Ashton Gate for more than two decades.

Ticket sales have already passed the 21,000-mark, and United’s 2,500-seat allocation quickly sold out.

“We need to work hard in training, and then another big game on Saturday,” said Ritchie. “Games come thick and fast and it’s great, especially when you’re on the back of a win when confidence will be high.

“We need to go there and put in a good performance.”