Matt Ritchie: Newcastle boss Steve Bruce ‘devastated’ after second op

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce says he ruined that midfielder Matt Ritchie will be missing until the end of January after experiencing a ankle operation.
Ritchie had surgery by Leicester’s Hamza Choudhury, but needed to go under the knife for a second time this week after feeling distress after his return to training.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City,” Bruce said:”We’re all disappointed.
“There’s nothing more difficult for a player than when you have had an operation like he’d had and the physician determines he needs to do just a little bit more.
“Look, we are ruined and so is he. We did provide him a time of relaxation, he went to see the expert again and had the surgery the morning after.
“Regrettably, that’s exactly what it is. We expect this time he’s back in training in early January – and it is nothing too horrible, so they say. Let us hope this time it’s done the trick”
Newcastle go into the game against third-placed City with the front three misfiring. Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton and Miguel Almiron have only scored one goal between them all year, but Bruce is planning to persevere with the trio.
“Last week from Bournemouth, I thought the front three were exceptional,” he further added. “I believed against West Ham with their motion and the pace of them we might have been 5 upward.
“The inquiry is always going to be, how long do you wait because they have not scored a goal?
“Up till the last week against Aston Villa where we weren’t good enough through the board, I have been delighted with the three.
“Yes, I would love them to evaluate a goal but the danger that they triggered at the upper end of the pitch and also what they contribute towards the team is the thing that I look at.
“Today we all want them, naturally, to score a goal and all of us think when they do rating, then we’ll be fine so it’s about getting that balance right.
“As I said the former match before Aston Villa against Bournemouth and against West Ham they had been terrific so I will keep persevering together.”
Bruce was asked if it became a mental issue for the 3 players.
“The past two internationals Almiron has been off and scored but obviously the more it goes on, the longer it plays with any striker and they are all judged on goals and assists.
“Regrettably their drains a small bit away and that is what a striker needs. They have to be certain for a striker and that’s probably by scoring a goal, and the way you get confident is by something.
“It’s going to be challenging with who we’re playing against tomorrow but let’s hope one of them is able to make it a good afternoon for us.”

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