Matt Ritchie: 'Newcastle United not yet safe from relegation'

12 March, 2018, 12:15 | Author: Judy Cobb
  • Rafael Benitez

A brace from on loan Kenedy and a goal from Matt Ritchie earned the Magpies a much needed victory, but it was England worldwide Jonjo Shelvey who was the catalyst for the win and the man who received all the plaudits after the match.

Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey could yet be involved after returning to training following the knee injury which kept him out of last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Liverpool with the manager ready to make a late decision.

Newcastle - who have a 21-day break between fixtures - are now five points clear of the relegation zone. Southampton's players looked all of the above.

Newcastle could have been 2-0 up had Dwight Gayle been able to control an excellent cross from Shelvey as the hosts threatened to run riot. We had to go for it in the second half and then were more open. In what was a well worked goal, Gayle squared the ball to Kenedy, who tapped home from close range.

Shane Long and Josh Sims came on for Southampton for the second half but the changes had little impact on the pattern of play as Newcastle continued to dominate. A Ritchie corner from the left was turned towards goal by a Perez header that flew just over the bar.

Newcastle have nobody else who takes their man on and creates danger, apart from very occasionally DeAndre Yedlin on charges forward from full-back, Kenedy has given Newcastle a whole new dimension and in six games NUFC have only lost at Liverpool. Cedric Soares should start at right-back while Ryan Bertrand will keep his place as a left-back.

Asked about Kenedy's first goal, Benitez said: "With him, any situation is good for me when you see a player with quality using his quality to make a difference".

Three points on Saturday could potentially lift the Magpies as high as 13th, as they look to eliminate the possibility of relegation.

Newcastle are winless in their last seven Premier League meetings with Southampton since a 4-2 win in February 2013.

Ritchie scored the third shortly before the hour with a crisp low show from 20 metres as Newcastle celebrated their first win in eight Premier League games against the Saints. His first came after 39 seconds (vs Norwich in March 2016), while the first goal today came with 63 seconds on the clock.

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