Ritchie hails Magpies' spirit after win over Watford
Written by Tom Easterby
Newcastle United winger Matt Ritchie hailed his side’s spirit after they recorded their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Watford on Saturday.
The Magpies had to dig deep at St. James’ Park, as the Hornets squandered a number of chances in both halves.
And Ritchie, who put in another tireless display down the right flank, was quick to praise the resilience of Rafa Benítez’s men as they secured the result which lifted them out of the bottom three.
“I think you could see from the lads on the pitch that there was a desire to get the points today,” he told nufc.co.uk. “Yes, in the first half we probably rode our luck a little bit and they probably had the better of the chances, but certainly in the second half I thought we were strong – we were resilient.
“They had some good chances again on the counter attack, but I think once we got the goal we never really looked back. You could see the mentality of the lads, and that’s what we need week-in, week-out.”
The Scotland international added: “I thought Ki came on and did really well, he moved the ball about well, but I thought we got the goal at a great time. Normally around 60 or 65 minutes is when the feeling is, ‘this could be a 0-0 again’, and we have to keep pushing and keep pushing.
“Then we scored the goal, and I think that gave everyone a boost – the fans, the stadium. It was a great time to score and it gave us that boost that we needed to really dig in and savour the three points.”
United are now clear of the drop zone until at least Monday, when Fulham, who are 19th, take on bottom club Huddersfield Town.
Manager Benítez spoke of his hope that luck would begin to favour his side in the run-up to the visit of Javi Gracia’s men – and Ritchie reckons some fortune did fall his team’s way as they coupled three points with another clean sheet.
“If you look at certainly the Brighton goal the other week, which is fresh in everyone’s minds, it was a little bit lucky. Today they had some cutback and some similar chances, and could maybe have scored, and we need to address that first and foremost," said the 29-year-old.
“But again, it’s just that little bit of luck, where instead of them rattling it into the back of the net, they’d put it over the bar. It just gave us that little warning – it shouldn’t take a warning, but it did – just to switch everyone back on and make you realise the game isn’t dead. We had to carry on until the 94th minute – and we did.”
"In the second half I thought we were strong – we were resilient. They had some good chances again on the counter attack, but I think once we got the goal we never really looked back."