Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie was left questioning Rafa Benitez's decision to substitute him during the Magpies' defeat to Leicester, as goals from Jamie Vardy from the penalty spot and Harry Maguire proved the difference.

With Newcastle trailing 1-0 with 25 minutes remaining, Benitez decided to swap Ritchie, who had been a rare creative spark in the side, for Jacob Murphy, sparking confusion and dismay among many of a Newcastle persuasion and triggering a chorus of boos around the stadium.

And according to journalist David Coverdale, Ritchie was among those confused by the call, observing on Twitter that the Scotland international appeared to ask the manager "what for?" as he left the pitch. 

When asked about the decision, the Newcastle manager had nothing to say about Ritchie's reaction, but insists the Newcastle fans who reacted angrily to the change are entitled to differing views from his own. 


He told the Shields Gazette: "They want to win. We want to win. We can have different opinions on what we do in the moment."

Ritchie has a reported history of opposing the tactical decisions of Benitez, after he reportedly came to blows with captain Jamaal Lascelles over his disagreement with Benitez's tactics at the end of last month.

Newcastle fans have had a tough time of it lately, with the defeat to Leicester signifying their worst ever start to a Premier League season after collecting just two points from the opening seven games.

Their frustrations are largely directed at owner Mike Ashley, as he appeared to laugh in the face of seething fan protests against his ownership when he attended the defeat against Leicester at the weekend.