Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has admitted his players might have had one eye on the Champions League as their chances of getting there were dealt a major blow.

The Magpies head for Chelsea having slipped out of the top four as a result of their 4-0 drubbing at Wigan on Saturday. With three games left to play, Pardew's men could yet finish anywhere between third and sixth, and that means the prospect of Champions League football returning to St James' Park remains alive.

In that respect, Wednesday night's game could be regarded as a dress rehearsal for the type of fixture that might lie ahead, and Pardew said: "Absolutely, and that's how we should approach it. Our players, perhaps you could argue, might have had one eye on it, I don't know."

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