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Pardew hopes for Europa glory

Alan Pardew believes Newcastle can end a difficult season on a high by landing the Europa League title.

Last Updated: 21/02/13 at 17:11 Post Comment

Alan Pardew: Believes Newcastle are capable of winning the Europa League

Alan Pardew: Believes Newcastle are capable of winning the Europa League

The Magpies have struggled in the Premier League and are still facing a relegation fight in the closing months of the campaign.

But the Europa League offers Newcastle a chance of silverware and their last 32 tie with Metalist Kharkiv is locked at 0-0 ahead of the trip to the Ukraine.

The arrival of January recruits such as Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa have strengthened Pardew's squad and he feels they are genuine contenders for the Europa crown.

"There's a possibility that this could still be a great season," the 51-year-old said.

"If I look at my best team, I would feel confident putting my best team up against any team left in this competition.

"I've not really had that opportunity. We are a lot stronger now. Therefore if we get through this tie, we have as good a chance as anyone else."

Pardew feels that a string of injuries ruined Newcastle's hopes of replicating last season's strong league form which resulted in a fifth placed finish.

"We have been disrupted this year with a lot of our key players missing," he said.

"Probably this is as strong as I have been with players that I have available. I feel we are a lot stronger than the league position suggests.

"We had a lot of things go our way last year to finish in fifth place, but it was an excellent momentum that we had gained.

"We became a side that was resilient - we haven't got that resilience this year.

"But there is a renewed belief in the squad from the introduction of the new players, particularly [Moussa] Sissoko, [Yoan] Gouffran and Mapou [Yanga-Mbiwa], who will play tomorrow.

"Therefore, our season will be determined by two things: firstly, progression in this competition and secondly, our Premier League position, which I think we can improve dramatically - hopefully."

Hatem Ben Arfa has returned to training after a 10 week absence with a hamstring injury, but the winger is unlikely to feature in Sunday's crucial clash with fellow strugglers Southampton.

"Sunday might be too early for him too, but certainly Swansea, I would be

looking for him to have some sort of cameo role from the bench if he progresses well," he said.

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aybe Southampton's objectives have changed. They were looking to be a Champions League club, I believe. I love this quote so much. So arrogant. So poignant. You can see where it's all gone wrong.

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o make it more fair, we should remove the requirements to score goals and not to concede goals. Then we could just spin and dance and leap and twirl and we'd never have to grow up! We'd be the bestest evar!

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Arteta: Defeat 'not fair'

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inners two weeks in a row? I haven't felt this good since the halcyon days of sir alex and micky phelan.

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