Longstaff shares the message Matt Ritchie gave Newcastle before kickoff
Sean Longstaff shares the message Matt Ritchie gave Newcastle before kick-off
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Sean Longstaff shares the message Matt Ritchie gave Newcastle before kick-off

A dressing room message from Matt Ritchie helped inspire Newcastle to victory against Arsenal last night.

The Magpies were excellent against the Gunners, putting in their best performance of the season to win 2-0. Both goals came in the second half, with Benjamin White scoring an own goal before Bruno Guimaraes wrapped the game up late on.

It was a magical night for Newcastle, as fans and players celebrated the end of what has been a rollercoaster of a season.

It started with lows and looming relegation, but it ends with renewed hope and optimism for the future.

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The atmosphere inside St James’ Park was amazing last night, largely down to the incredible display created by Wor Flags that involved every single Toon fan in the stadium.

And the noise it helped create led to a rallying cry from Ritchie.

Matt Ritchie’s dressing room message to Newcastle teammates

After the game, Sean Longstaff spoke to NUFC TV and was asked about the pre-game atmosphere.

“Yeah, a hundred percent,” he said when asked if the players fed off the energy of the crowd.

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“Even in the warm up you could feel the buzz. Obviously the songs when we were coming in from the warm-up on the loudspeaker – the whole place was bouncing.

“To be fair it was Matty Ritchie who came in the dressing room and said lads, if you can’t get up for this and aren’t ready to play in this you shouldn’t be playing football, and he was spot on.”

Newcastle roared on by incredible crowd

Playing in an atmosphere like that must make you feel 10 feet tall. To have that many people cheering you on and encouraging you has to be a brilliant feeling.

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The noise before the game was incredible, and it carried on throughout the night. The players responded to the atmosphere, which in turn led to even more noise.

Longstaff was one of multiple players who looked lifted by the noise. He produced arguably his best performance since Eddie Howe became manager.

Ritchie was absolutely spot on with his message. And it’s good to see the 32-year-old still being a vocal presence in the dressing room despite not playing a lot of football this year.

He’s only featured once in 2022, coming off the bench in the 3-0 win over Norwich last month. But he remains a key character in the squad as Howe said last month, and his words of encouragement helped guide Newcastle to a big win underneath the lights.