Newcastle United star makes honest admission about off-field disruption
By Russell Edge
Newcastle United midfielder Matt Ritchie has admitted that the dressing room spirit was impacted by the club’s off-field uncertainty over the summer.
Boss Rafael Benitez endured a frustrating summer transfer window, missing out on a number of top targets as they failed to splash the cash following their return from the Championship.
Their lack of spending coupled with Benitez’s open admittance that he was annoyed by the club’s transfer situation led to many speculating that the Spanish boss would leave the Magpies ahead of the new season.
However he remained, and despite a slow start to the campaign he has helped lead his side to three successive wins which has launched his side to fourth in the Premier League table.
Now midfield star Ritchie has admitted that the dressing room was affected by what was happening off field, stating that club captain Jamaal Lascelles was crucial in ensuring the mentality of the players was right.
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Speaking to the Jim White show on talkSPORT (Monday 18th, 10am), the Scotland international said: “The summer was not smooth sailing.
“He (Lascelles) had a big part to play in the dressing room being calm and focused.”
However he insists that his personal focus was only ever on the training ground, and his efforts have paid off with four assists for his team mates this season.
“As a player you have to make sure you train well,” the 28-year-old says.
“You can’t affect that (off-field issues) so day-to-day training is key to us, you need to make sure you’re focused on that.”
The Magpies’ next match sees them make the long journey to the south coast to take on fellow promoted side Brighton on Sunday.
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