Newcastle legend ‘fully expects’ Magpies to beat PSG as 20-year wait finally ends

Ciaran McCarthy
Keith Gillespie, Newcastle, November 1997
Keith Gillespie on the ball for Newcastle

Former Newcastle United man Keith Gillespie has detailed how he “fully expects” the side to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, given support from the home crowd.

A fantastic past few years for the Magpies in which they obtained new ownership, a new manager, some top players and finished fourth in the Premier League means they’re set for one of their most important games in two decades.

Indeed, 2003 was the last time they played in the Champions League, and while they’ve already played their first game in the competition this season – a 0-0 draw with AC Milan – they’re set to face PSG in their first home game since that campaign.

Other than last season’s League Cup final, this is their biggest game since then, and will be one of the most challenging.

However, former Magpies star Gillespie – who played in the Champions League for the club – is confident they’ll overcome the European powerhouse.

“I fully expect us to win, I really do, it will be difficult but there’s no reason why we can’t win the game,” he said, quoted by BBC Sport.

“It’s going to be difficult, we know that, but with the crowd behind us, that first home game after 20 years, the onus is on us to take the game to them.”

Kylian Mbappe may serve as a reason why Newcastle don’t win. He’s already bagged eight goals this season, but Alan Shearer believes, perhaps with a tinge of hopefulness, that Kieran Trippier will “mark him out of the game”.

Gillespie is confident with the crowd behind the Magpies that they’ll have enough to make it out of the group stages.

“I’ve sort of been quite confident from the draw that we would get through because I’ve always maintained that we’re always very difficult to beat at home,” Gillespie said.

“If we can take maximum points from home games – I mean it sounds easily said but I think we can do that, especially after picking up the point in the first game.

“It’s always going to be tough groups in the Champions League but you want to be playing against the types of teams we have in our group, they’re top teams but we’re going to show them that we’re not just here to make up the numbers.”

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