Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has claimed European football can be tougher for England's Europa League contenders than it is for their Champions League counterparts.

The Magpies face Maritimo at St James' Park on Thursday knowing victory would ensure their progression from Group D. However, a gruelling schedule - this will be their 20th game of the season - has taken its toll and with Tottenham and Liverpool having also experienced difficulties, Pardew believes they are having it tougher than Champions League quartet Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

"I think it's harder for us, I genuinely do," he said. "The four Champions League teams have the finance to attack that with two squads, really, whereas we are attacking a competition that has many more games, a heavier schedule and a more difficult night, Thursday night, with a much-reduced squad, so of course it's much more difficult for us."

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