Ritchie looks to keep Mags on song as Wolves visit

Matt Ritchie
Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie is desperate to make more history at Newcastle United.

The summer signing helped the Magpies equal their biggest-ever away league victory this week, as Newcastle won 6-0 at QPR in the Championship.

The Tynesiders also hit the crossbar twice at Loftus Road as they moved up to second place in the table ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Wolves, who were thumped by Barnsley in midweek.

Ritchie, outstanding against QPR, feels Rafa Benitez is building solid foundations at Newcastle.

“It’s nice to have been part of history,” said Ritchie, signed from Bournemouth this summer.

“Although it’s a bit of a shame not to have beaten the record, to be honest, because we went close to getting a seventh.

“We dominated in the first half and took our chances, and then in the second half we got a real foothold in the game and controlled it throughout.

“The experience of the game at QPR was the reason I came to Newcastle.

“I want to have nights like that, and I want to have success and try to be part of something special at the football club.

“I don’t want to speak too soon because it’s still early days.

“But hopefully we’re building the foundations to achieve that.

Ritchie was part of the Bournemouth team that won promotion to the Premier League the season before last.

The 27-year-old knows the result, in itself, counts for little.

“Football changes quickly, and that was only one win,” said the Scotland international.

“We need to keep our foot on the gas now and make sure we continue to get better and progress.

“The good thing is that we have a good squad, a big squad, and there will be players who didn’t play at QPR who will be champing at the bit to get into the team.

“Some people will say Tuesday was a bit of a statement.

“But we know we have to keep fighting in every game to stay in and around the top of the league.

“We need to follow the win up now.

“We need to make St James’s Park a fortress.

“We’ve had a couple of good victories there of late, and we need to continue that now with a couple of home games coming up.

“Hopefully, we can perform well and, most importantly, keep clean sheets and score more goals.

“That’s a good chemistry to have.”

Benitez’s men have gone 495 minutes in all competitions without conceding a goal.

While Newcastle’s goalscorers have grabbed the headlines, Ritchie feels the club’s defenders deserve as much praise for the club’s six-game running run.

“A lot of credit has to go to the back four,” said the winger.

“We scored six goals, but the most important thing was that we kept another clean sheet.

“That’s a key thing in this league – keeping clean sheets.

“With the quality we’ve got up top, we’re always going to score goals.

“So if we continue to defend well as well, it’ll be a good combination.

“The clean sheets are going to be key to our success.”