Alan Pardew ready to prioritise Europa League
The Magpies booked their spot against Anzhi Makhachkala with a narrow two-legged win over Ukrainian giants Metalist Kharkiv.
The ex-Southampton boss has appeared to see European competition as a slight distraction from domestic football this term, often electing to field fringe players during midweek games.
But, despite his side sitting just six points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone, Pardew hinted that his big name players will be playing and that the tournament is their main priority:
“It would be massive if we could beat this team because they are a really strong side.” He is quoted by Sky Sports.
“It’s really now down to where every team left in that Europa League now is focusing on it probably as their primary objective.
“I can’t think of too many clubs in it for whom it’s not at the top of their agenda, so there’s now a real focus on that competition.”
Pardew went on to claim that fit-again Yohan Cabaye, along with Steven Taylor and Moussa Sissoko, will key to his side’s chances of advancing to the quarter-finals:
“Cabaye has been the most influential player we have had on return, closely followed by Steven and Moussa.
“Those three really have lifted the club massively.”
Pardew’s men now have a tough task with Anzhi awaiting them.
The Russian giants are one of the richest clubs in world football, and boast star names such as Samuel Eto’o and Lassana Diarra.