Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Getting the best out of Ritchie

Eddie Howe was keen not to overwork Matt Ritchie against Derby. Matt has been a little off his high standards and playing him for 90 minutes every week is probably something that is not going to help him so much at the moment. By taking him off after 71 minutes against Derby it seems that Eddie is keen to protect Matt as he comes into a period of very important games for the Cherries.
Ritchie has to be used wisely.
It so nearly could have been Matt's day as I predicted when he struck the post in the first half with a viscous shot that Lee Grant could not get anywhere near. But the thin margins in this game really came back to haunt the Cherries this time. 

Kris Temple alluded to the stitches on Matt's head that he was still carrying after the Burnley game. The three stitches were simply picked up by heading the ball. That Matt felt no ill effects and wanted to play is pleasing for Eddie Howe and the team. We need Matt Ritchie to be 100 per cent though in the coming games. While you may say we have lots of potential match winners, Matt is always a big loss when he is out of the team or not quite on top form. He provides many of the quality crosses and passes that Grabban can feed off of and he tackles back to help out Francis.

Matt can't do it all himself though. He needs others to take some of the pressure off of him and with Fraser and Coulibaly looking fit it should be a period when Eddie Howe can manage his star winger a little as and when he is required during the run-in.  

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