Matt Ritchie: Bournemouth fitness levels starting to pay dividends

Matt Ritchie
Matt Ritchie has scored three goals in the Premier League this season

Bournemouth are reaping the rewards of being the fittest team in the Premier League, says winger Matt Ritchie.

The Cherries, who are 17th in the table, have covered more ground than any other top flight side this season.

Bournemouth midfielder Andrew Surman has run 183.54km in total - the furthest of any Premier League player.

"I think we have all really upped our fitness since last season," Scotland international Ritchie, 26, told BBC Radio Solent.

"It is not that we were not fit last season because we were probably one of the fittest in the league, but you get that little bit more rest in the Premier League and I think it shows.

"We do not often look like we are getting outmuscled or bullied so that is a good sign."

Distance covered in Premier League (km)
Andrew Surman - Bournemouth183.54
Gareth Barry - Everton177.70
Matt Ritchie - Bournemouth 176.67
Statistics courtesy of Opta

Bournemouth ended a run of eight matches without a win when they won 1-0 at Chelsea on Saturday.

Glenn Murray came off the bench to head home with his first touch just 99 seconds after replacing Joshua King.

The Cherries host Louis van Gaal's Manchester United on Saturday, hoping to secure back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

"We are at home and I would not have thought they will fancy it but it will be an experience for most of their players," added Ritchie.

"We will try and make it a tough day for them."

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