Matt Ritchie says EVERY Newcastle United player is “pulling in the same direction”.
Henri Saivet scored a stunning 30-yard free-kick in Saturday’s 3-2 win over West Ham United. The midfielder had been handed his first Premier League appearance of the season at the London Stadium.
Saivet, paired with Mohamed Diame in midfield, had given the ball away for the home side’s first goal.
But Newcastle went on to claim their first win in two months – and climb out of the relegation zone – thanks to Saivet’s strike and goals from Diame and Christian Atsu.
“I think the group that we’ve got is very competitive,” said Ritchie. “Training is very competitive. We’ve got a good group.
“We’ve got players that haven’t played as much as they’d have liked. Henri’s come in and scored a wonderful free-kick. It’s the sort of thing we’re going to need.
You’ve seen already this year that the Premier League’s a ruthless place, and that if you’re not at it, you’ll get beat.Matt Ritchie
“It’s not just 11 players. We need a squad of players, and everyone to be pulling in the same direction. It’s fantastic that everyone’s involved.
“I think the performance was very good, although, throughout the season, we’ve performed well and there have been games where you could probably take a point, or take all three, and we’ve been on the wrong end of those turning points.”
Newcastle’s players applauded the club’s 3,000 travelling fans at the final whistle.
“The fans have been fantastic,” said Ritchie. “I don’t think anyone thought this season was going to be easy. There was always going to be ups and downs, but it’s the way we react to the downs.
“The past couple of weeks have been tough for everyone involved at the club. Results haven’t been the way we’ve wanted them. But we showed resilience, and it was great to share that with the fans.
“Hopefully, we put a smile back on their faces and they can have a Merry Christmas.”
Newcastle entertain unbeaten Premier League leaders Manchester City tomorrow night.
“You’ve seen already this year that the Premier League’s a ruthless place, and that if you’re not at it, you’ll get beat,” said Ritchie.
“We need to make sure the desire, above all else, is breathing throughout the team.”