Matt Ritchie offers candid assessment of Newcastle's first 11 games in the Premier League

Matt Ritchie says he'll always want more at Newcastle United '“ and will NEVER be content to make up the numbers in the Premier League.

Thursday, 16th November 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:53 am
Newcastle Uniteds Matt Ritchie and Southamptons Nathan Redmond battle for the ball.

The club is 11th in the table ahead of Saturday’s game against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Newcastle – who had been as high as sixth last month – go into the fixture on the back of successive defeats.

And Ritchie is keen for the club, which was tipped to struggle this season given a lack of summer investment in the squad, to get back up the table.

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“It’s a tough question to say whether we’d have taken this at the start of the season or not,” said the winger.

“It’s football, and you always want more, both personally and for the team.

“Everyone wants more, everyone wants to keep striving, and everyone wants to get better.

“If we were sitting in third in the league, we’d still want to get better and we’d still want to improve.

“We are where we are, and we need to continue to improve and raise the bar.

“We need to continue to create chances, and continue to defend well and press well.

“We need to continue to have a good shape and be compact, all the small things that we work on during the week.

“We have to get better at all of those things, and if we continue to do that, we’ll be picking up points.”

Bournemouth won 1-0 at St James’s Park before the international break thanks to an injury-time goal from Steve Cook.

United manager Rafa Benitez had bemoaned his team’s second-half “mistakes” after the game, which followed a loss by the same scoreline to Burnley at Turf Moor.

Ritchie, for his part, believes the two games illustrate the “tight margins” in the Premier League.

“We have to keep a level head,” said the 28-year-old.

“If we’d have scored at the other end in the 90th minute and won 1-0, I’m sure all the conversations would have been very different.

“That’s what the Premier League is. It’s tight margins, and we know that.

“The manager knows that too, and with the experience he has, there’s probably no better person for us to be listening to

“He knows, and he tells us all the time, that it’s a long race and you can never be too high or never be too low.

“We just have to continue to try to get better and with that, we’ll be picking up points.”

Ritchie, signed from Bournemouth last year, believes the team will be “fully prepared” for the game against Jose Mourinho’s second-placed side, who trail leaders Manchester City by eight points.

“It’s a big game, but they’re all big games – whether it’s Manchester United or whoever,” said the Scotland international.

“This league is tough. It’s going to be a tough game, but we (will be) well drilled, as we have been all season.

“Then we can go into the Manchester United game fully prepared.”