Pardew seeks European glory

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew sees it as vital that his team get back to winning ways in the clash with Fulham.

Last Updated: 06/04/13 at 14:59 Post Comment

Pardew: Keeping one eye on the trapdoor

Pardew: Keeping one eye on the trapdoor

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew sees it as vital that his team get back to winning ways in the Premier League clash with Fulham at St James' Park.

The Magpies go into the contest off the back of Thursday night's 3-1 Europa League quarter-final first-leg defeat at Benfica - their third successive loss, after they were beaten 4-0 at Manchester City and 2-1 at Wigan before that in the league.

Those top-flight reverses have left the Tyneside outfit just three points clear of the relegation zone.

And Pardew is in no doubt about the importance of Newcastle making the most of their return to St James' Park on Sunday - both in terms of their league position, and with a view to the second leg against Benfica which follows on Thursday.

"The Fulham game is an important one for us, there is no doubt about that," Pardew - whose side complete a hat-trick of home fixtures by hosting derby rivals Sunderland after the Benfica return leg - told Press Association Sport.

"We want to set ourselves up for Thursday - probably to do that, we are going to need to win."

Although Newcastle have had to travel to Portugal and back this week, recent evidence would suggest that fatigue within the camp is not something Pardew needs to worry too much about.

In February, the Magpies beat Southampton 4-2 on the Sunday that immediately followed their Thursday night Europa League last-32 clash with Metalist Kharkiv in Ukraine.

And last month they repeated the trick, defeating Stoke 2-1 three days after playing in Russia against Anzhi Makhachkala in the last 16.

It is a pattern Pardew is hoping continues.

"We had a tough game against Benfica," the 51-year-old said.

"But it was just as tough as some of the other games we have had, and there is no reason why we can't show our strength on the pitch on Sunday."

Newcastle are facing a Fulham side enjoying some good form of late, the Londoners having put together a five-game unbeaten run and won three of their last four matches.

Key to their success has been striker Dimitar Berbatov, who has scored six times in his past six appearances, and Pardew is well aware of the Bulgarian's threat.

"He caused us a lot of problems at their place (in Fulham's 2-1 win over Newcastle in December)," Pardew said.

"He is a great player and we need to make sure we take care of him."

Pardew has Yoan Gouffran back available for the Fulham encounter, but there remain doubts over Mathieu Debuchy and Cheick Tiote.


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