Newcastle evening headlines: Matt Ritchie’s verdict on the season and Alan Shearer’s advice

Matt Ritchie has given his verdict on Newcastle United’s poor season so far.

Elsewhere, Alan Shearer has offered advice on how Magpies forwards should approach Sunday’s visit to Burnley.

Here are the top Newcastle United stories for April 7:

Ritchie’s verdict

Matt Ritchie says the team spirit at Newcastle United can’t be faulted – but admits the team have fell short with results.

The recalled Toon winger has spoken for a second time in the space of a few days and insists the team are focused on the “business end” of the campaign.

Matt Ritchie during Newcastle United’s defeat at Sheffield United on January 12, 2021

However, he pointed to the “intensity” and “purpose” of the team in the 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur when asked if Sunday’s game and the trip to Brighton could even be compared.

Bruce on debrief

Steve Bruce has revealed part of Newcastle United’s internal debrief after the disastrous defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Toon head coach says that coaching staff could not argue with the physical stats in terms of distance covered by his Newcastle players that night at the Amex and the post-mortem was a difficult affair in terms of questioning his side’s effort.

Steve Bruce has explained why he made five changes to his team to face Tottenham.

But both players and staff agreed that the quality of the display was far from the standard expected at United and that change was needed in the build-up to the 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur, a performance which was much improved.

Shearer’s Burnley advice

Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer’s analysis of Danny Ings’ performance against Burnley could serve as a blueprint for how the Magpies should attack Sean Dyche’s defenders on Sunday.

Steve Bruce’s side travel to Turf Moor in a huge game at the bottom of the Premier League table and could end the weekend six points clear of the relegation zone if results go their way.

Conversely, United could also end the weekend in the relegation zone if they lose to Burnley and Fulham secure three points against Wolves.

Alan Shearer (right) and Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce
Alan Shearer (right) and Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce

The stakes couldn’t be higher but Newcastle will be buoyed by a positive display in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Tottenham – despite a run of just two wins in their last 21 matches.

Shearer has already insisted that Newcastle must ‘repeat the attacking intent’ they showed against Tottenham if they are to achieve Premier League survival.

His analysis of Burnley’s defeat to Southampton, particularly how the press and running of Ings caused problems to defenders Ben Mee and James Tarkowski, offers a valuable insight as to how Newcastle could get the better of the Clarets on Sunday.

Earle’s Joelinton suggestion

Jose Mourinho ‘could do worse’ than sign Newcastle United forward Joelinton for Tottenham Hotspur.

That was the light-hearted suggestion of NBC pundit Robbie Earle who was left impressed by the Brazilian’s performance in Newcastle’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham on Sunday.

The 24-year-old was instrumental in securing a vital point for the Magpies at St James’ Park, scoring the first goal and helping create a second by diverting his header into the path of Miguel Almiron and, then ultimately, goalscorer Joe Willock.

Joelinton of Newcastle United celebrates with team mates after scoring their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur
Joelinton of Newcastle United celebrates with team mates after scoring their side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur

Joelinton has come in for his fair share of criticism since his club record £40 million arrival, and a lot of it has been justified given he has just four goals in 62 Premier League appearances.

But he proved his worth on Sunday, helping Newcastle stretch the gap between themselves and the relegation zone to three points with ‘arguably his best’ performance for the club in the eyes of manager Steve Bruce.

As a result, former Wimbledon and Jamaica midfielder, Earle, selected Joelinton as his ‘underappreciated player of the week’ before jokingly suggesting Mourinho should look to sign the former Hoffenheim forward for Spurs.

Wilson’s ‘big week’

Callum Wilson faces a ‘big week’ ahead of his potential return to action in Newcastle United’s huge game against Burnley on Sunday but Steve Bruce is conscious of the need to ‘box carefully’.

Newcastle’s top scorer has not played since he suffered a hamstring injury in the Magpies’ 3-2 win against Southampton in February.

Wilson was originally ruled out for between six and eight weeks, but Bruce has been wary of rushing the striker back given the nature of his muscle injury.

Callum Wilson carries a bag of training balls as he continues his recovery during the Newcastle United training session on April 02, 2021
Callum Wilson carries a bag of training balls as he continues his recovery during the Newcastle United training session on April 02, 2021

After completing a month-long rehabilitation camp in Bournemouth, Wilson returned to individual training at Newcastle’s Benton base last month and Bruce hoped the striker would be able to join in with group sessions this week.

The big test now, of course, is getting Wilson up to speed after an extended spell on the sidelines. The coming days will be crucial.

Toney on Magpies exit

Ivan Toney has insisted he holds no ill-feeling towards Newcastle United after he was sold by Rafa Benitez.

The Brentford striker has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the English Football League after moving from Peterborough to the Bees in the summer for an initial £5million fee.

Ivan Toney has scored 28 goals for Brentford in the Championship.

Toney is now on target to become the highest-scoring Championship striker in a single season, having already scored 28 goals and registering nine assists this season, leaving some Newcastle supporters ruing the club’s decision to allow him to leave in 2018 for a relative pittance.

The 25-year-old is now hoping to return to the Premier League with the Bees, with top-flight clubs reportedly poised to sign him should Brentford stumble. Toney has taken time to explain his decision to leave Newcastle.

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