Benitez defends decision to substitute Ritchie for Atsu in Tottenham defeat

Getty Images
The Magpies boss has clarified his decision to bring on the Ghanaian against Spurs, admitting that it didn't pay off

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has claimed it was a good decision to substitute Scottish international Matt Ritchie for Ghanaian Christian Atsu in their 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

With the Magpies in a dire need of an equaliser in the last 20 minutes, Benitez opted to bring on Atsu for Ritchie who assisted the goal scored by Joselu.

However, Ritchie appeared unhappy while leaving the pitch.

"It is important to try to change things when you are not winning," Benitez said as quoted by

“I thought we needed a little bit of good movement between the lines and maybe someone who could make the right passes to get us into one-on-one situations.

Article continues below

“I thought Atsu might give us some pace. It was not the right thing in the end because we had chances but it was not because of this substitution. If the reaction is to work harder in our next games, that is perfect," he added.

Newcastle will face returnees Cardiff on Saturday before playing host to Chelsea at the St. James' Park.