Ayoze Perez has come under a lot of criticism from Newcastle fans this season, but midfielder Matt Ritchie was full of praise for the forward’s display against Burnley.

The 25-year-old has only found the net once this season in a 1-0 win against Watford, and fans have grown frustrated with The Spaniard.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

His general play can often leave a lot to be desired, especially when he is failing to score. A lack of strength and decision making are often questioned by supporters, with many questioning what he offers to the team.

But Matt Ritchie has come out and praised the striker this week.

It may just be a bid to defend Perez from his detractors, but the Scotsman makes a valid point.

Ritchie on Perez vs Burnley

Speaking to The Chronicle after the Burnley game, Ritchie said: “I thought Ayoze was unbelievable defensively.

“As for me, in that position, I am comfortable going forward, but defensively not really used to that position.

“But Ayoze was fantastic; his work-rate just sitting inside me was unbelievable. When I was one versus one, he was there but we all helped each other both on our side and the other.

It’s an interesting point made by Ritchie. Perez’s work rate is rarely taken into account when rating his performances.

But the striker also played a role going forward against Burnley. His through ball to Joselu late in the game was a perfect pass, but his compatriot’s strike could only hit the post.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

It was a shame for Perez because despite only having one assist this season, he has also created two ‘big chances’.

According to Premier League statistics, this makes him Newcastle’s joint most creative player with Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey.

But try as he might, his performance against Burnley was still not enough for the majority of Newcastle supporters.

Fans on Perez vs Burnley

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

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