‘Benitez exit a surprise’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 17, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:32 AM, July 17, 2019

‘Benitez exit a surprise’

Newcastle United midfielder Matt Ritchie said on Tuesday that he was “surprised” and “disappointed” to see manager Rafael Benitez leave the Premier League crisis club.

Newcastle have approached Steve Bruce over the vacancy and the former Manchester United defender has reportedly resigned as manager of Sheffield Wednesday.

But the time is ticking down to Newcastle’s Premier League opener on August 11 and the club has lost key players, while also in limbo over the managerial hot seat.

Newcastle fans were furious that hated club owner Mike Ashley failed to convince the hugely popular Benitez to stay, and the Spaniard has since moved to China as coach of Dalian Yifang.

Newcastle are now among the favourites for relegation -- Benitez was widely praised for steering the northeast club to 13th last term.

Speaking in Nanjing ahead of the Premier League Asia Trophy, the 29-year-old Ritchie said: “To see the manager leave was disappointing because he had a good reign with the club.

“But it was a decision made between the manager and the club owners so it’s out of our hands.

“Now we have to look forward to a new manager and a new season.”

“I was surprised, I thought he was going to stay,” Ritchie said.

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