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Pardew eager to Stoke Europa hopes with win

NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew is hoping to go into next week's Europa League showdown with Anzhi Makhachkala having safely banked three more Premier League points.

The Magpies arrived back on Tyneside during the early hours of this morning with a 0-0 first leg draw under their belts after turning in a well-organised and stubborn display at the Luzhniki Stadium to frustrate Guus Hiddink's men.

However, before they start to consider the possibility of booking a place in a European quarter-final, Pardew will focus fully on Sunday's league clash with Stoke at St James' Park.

He will do so having seen his January spending mission pay dividends once again in Russia with newcomers Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Massadio Haidara among the star performers.

Pardew said: "We are so much stronger in depth, I think that's evident. Massadio and Mapou really and truly are pushing for first team places, and they proved that tonight.

 

Freedom

"(Sylvain) Marveaux is beginning to push as well, and that's what you want, you want your best players pushed. I am hoping our team will be stronger on Thursday in the return, but I have got to get a result against Stoke and I have got to get a positive result to give me the freedom to do that.

"I don't really want to go to Wigan on the back of a defeat by Stoke."

Hiddink did not attend the post-match press conference because of illness, but assistant Zeljko Petrovic was philosophical.

He said: "If a team like Newcastle comes here and they play defensively like today, that means they respect the team and that's also a plus point and a good image for our club.

"We are not disappointed because we played against a big club with a huge history and great players."


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