Newcastle boss confident of Europa League turnaround
Newcastle United news: Alan Pardew confident of turnaround against Benfica
Alan Pardew remains confident that his Newcastle United side can overturn a 3-1 deficit in their Europa League quarter-final tie at home to Benfica on Thursday night.
The Magpies boss was in buoyant mood after Papiss Demba Cisse's vital injury time winner against Fulham on Sunday, and a 2-0 win on Thursday night would see the Toon through to the last four.
Speaking to The Independent ahead of two games in four days, the Newcastle boss is confident that his team can get the result they need to progress to the semi-final, and perhaps make it a threesome of English clubs in the penultimate round of Europe's second competition.
"We just need to get ourselves in a good position. If we can get a goal with 20 minutes to go, we can do it - that's the agenda", he said.
Cisse scored a rare away goal in the Estadio da Luz to put Newcastle ahead within ten minutes in Lisbon, but Benfica were too strong and poor defending on a number of occasions allowed Jorge Jesus' side a strong lead coming into the second leg.
Pardew knows it will be a tough task and has already issues a warning to the home support.
"Our fans need to understand on Thursday that if we go gung-ho looking for two quick goals, we are just going to get killed," he told reporters.
The Magpies are still not safe from relegation, but three points on Sunday against their bitter rivals will all but secure their Premier League status for next season and Pardew is all too aware of the importance of the fixture to everyone involved.
"Sunday takes care of itself. We know what it's about", he said.
If Newcastle were to turn their tie around and progress, then a relatively disappointing season could end with potential glory for Pardew and everyone on Tyneside, but nobody at the club would sacrifice that at the expense of relegation to the Championship once again.