Newcastle boss believes Europa League turnaround is possible

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Newcastle boss Alan Pardew believes his side can still progress to the semi-finals of the Europa League despite losing 3-1 in their quarter-final first leg clash against Benfica. 

The Magpies got off to a brilliant start at the Estadio Da Luz, and got a vital away goal when Papiss Cisse gave them the lead after 12 minutes.

However, Benfica surged back into the game with goals from Rodrigo, Lima and Oscar Cardozo to give the Portuguese giants a two-goal advantage ahead of next week’s second leg at St James’ Park.

Despite the result Pardew refused to criticise his side, stating that he felt they deserved more from the game and that they could still make the final four of Europe's second-tier competition.

"Of course it is possible, anything is possible. If we can put Benfica under pressure at home, pressure can do funny things to you," said the Toon chief, according to Sky Sports.

"I think at our place the away goal could come into it. We need to score first, I think, to have a realistic chance in that game, but I think we showed enough tonight to prove we can cause them problems.

"They are a good side, there is no doubt about that, but for long periods in that game we were comfortable. I was overjoyed with the performance but not the result, and that probably sums up my feelings.

"I thought on another given day we could have got a much better result, for sure. I thought we probably had them where we wanted them just before their second goal and then it is two poor goals on our part.

"We are disappointed with the result, because of the performance level. In some parts of the game we played very, very well."

Newcastle will now switch their attention back to the Premier League at the weekend, when Fulham make the trip to Tyneside. The Magpies will need to recover quickly from the defeat in Portugal, as they lay just three points above the relegation zone in the English top flight.

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