Matt Ritchie reveals his view on Newcastle United's plight after first-team recall

Matt Ritchie is determined to stay in Newcastle United’s starting XI – after coming in from the cold.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 6:52 am

Ritchie made his first start since January in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at St James’s Park.

The winger – who hadn’t featured since a well-publicised “row” with head coach Steve Bruce last month – had a hand in both goals as relegation-threatened Newcastle came from behind to claim a point with a much-improved performance.

"I’ve been champing at the bit to get back in, worked hard in training, and, luckily enough, got back in the team,” said Ritchie, who saw a proposed return to former club Bournemouth fall through in January.

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Matt Ritchie.

"Now I have to try and keep my shirt and perform. It’s the business end of the season now, so performances need to be high. Hopefully, we can pick up points.”

Newcastle are 17th in the Premier League – and three points above third-bottom Fulham – ahead of Sunday’s game against Burnley at Turf Moor.

"The bare minimum every week is to work hard, play with a desire and a mentality to try and win the game,” said 31-year-old Ritchie. “As we’ve found out in the Premier League, if you don’t do that, and you don’t have quality as well, then you won’t get results.

"I don’t think that’s in question from the lads. I think we give everything week in, week out, but we’ve fell short with the results.

"It’s the business end of the season and we can pick up some points on the run-in in the next few weeks.”