Matt Ritchie on his disappointment at the exit of Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United's manager hunt

Newcastle United’s Matt Ritchie admits he was disappointed to see former manager Rafa Benitez leave the club.

By Liam Kennedy
Tuesday, 16 July, 2019, 08:28

Scotland international Ritchie was one of Benitez’s most expensive and important signings made during the Spaniard’s three years on Tyneside.

And although rumours were rife the ex-Real Madrid and Liverpool manager would cash in on the 29-year-old, who turns 30 in September, this summer, Ritchie says he was not happy to see Benitez depart.

Newcastle United's Spanish manager Rafael Benitez (R) speaks with Newcastle United's Scottish midfielder Matt Ritchie (L) during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on December 9, 2018. (Photo by Lindsey PARNABY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

Ritchie is, however, keen for a new regime to be given the reins, with former Sunderland, Birmingham and Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce looking increasingly likely to be appointed by United chiefs this week.

“To see the manager leave was disappointing,” said Ritchie, speaking at a press conference ahead of Newcastle United’s Premier League Asia Trophy match against Wolverhampton Wanderers in Nanjing’s Olympic Stadium, China, tomorrow.

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“He had a good reign at the club – it was a decision taken between the manager and the club’s owners.

“We now look forward to a new manager and a new season.

Matt Ritchie faces the media with Ben Dawson in Nanjing, China, ahead of the Premier League Asia Trophy.

“The key thing I've said since I've been at this club is we've got to create a togetherness, and everybody pulling in the same direction. Togetherness is key for me.

"Ben (Dawson) and Neil (Redfearn)'s sessions have been of high quality and good intensity so we're not missing anything in that respect. The new manager will want to add players but we’re preparing so that when the new manager does come in, we can hit the ground running."