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SWINDON TOWN: Ritchie is his own worst critic
MATT Ritchie has acknowledged his recent dip in form but the winger claimed no one is more critical of his performances than himself.
The former Portsmouth man has struggled to produce the consistently high-quality displays that saw him named the best player in League Two last season, and Robins boss Paolo Di Canio took the unusual decision to substitute the 23-year-old with half-an-hour left of the 2-2 draw with Coventry last weekend.
It was a decision that paid dividends, with Town forcing their way to a point from two goals down, and Ritchie accepted that he was far from at his best against the Sky Blues. And in an honest interview, he also conceded that he has found life on the pitch a little difficult in recent weeks.
“It wasn’t one of my best games, I haven’t been in great form personally, and I felt like it was tough for myself on Saturday and Gaz (Gary Roberts) early on,” he said.
“In the first half I thought we had a good spell and started well as a team and later in the first half I thought it was tough to get into the game and get myself involved.
“I tried to keep my position and work hard but sometimes it doesn’t happen for you and the gaffer’s seen it and changed it and it’s a great decision.
“It’s paid off and we’ve got two goals back from changing the shape, putting Gaz in the hole, putting another striker on and it seemed to work.
“There’s nothing in it, I just need to keep working hard and hopefully my performances can be a little better than what they have been in recent weeks.
“Everyone has patches of form, you can’t play well every week and when you’re not playing well you just have to make sure you’re working hard. “I feel like every week I give 100 per cent, whether I feel brilliant or I don’t feel brilliant, whether I play well or I don’t play well, whether I’m having a good game or not.
“I’ll always do that and I think the gaffer knows I’ll always do that as well. “Not everyone can play well every week, that’s football and you’ve just got to keep working hard and keep trying to perform and keep myself in the team.
“I’m my biggest critic. When I don’t play well I know I don’t play well, when I do play well I’m still hard on myself and I still want to do better.
“I agree that last season I had a good season and the team had a good season. My delivery was 99 per cent of the time good delivery and I feel that recently I haven’t really got on the ball to put in good balls, and when I have got on the ball the balls haven’t been as good as what they should be.
“It’s a bar that I’ve set, I need to hit that bar every week and I’m doing my best to do that.”