It seems that the Portuguese press have written off Newcastle’s chances of beating Benfica in the quarter finals of the Europa League, and there’s no doubt that Benfica are the team in form.
Alan Pardew at Estádio da Luz – Stadium of Light
But the Newcastle manager Alan Pardew does not believe that Newcastle’s task is mission impossible, and the Londoner still thinks Newcastle can make headway through to the final four of the competition.
This is what the Newcastle manager has said to the press in Portugal on Wednesday
‘Mission impossible? There is never a mission impossible,’ Pardew said. ‘But we know it is a tough ask. And we know we can get a result. We need to give ourselves a chance for Thursday week and the return at St James’ Park.
‘It’s a big test for us because I think when you play a team who are such a roll as Benfica are, it’s always difficult. They have great momentum and that confidence breeds it’s own success. It’s a difficult game for us, we’re under no illusions about that.
‘I think that at St James’ Park we can beat anybody. We have no doubt about that game: we can beat Benfica at St James’ Park. This is the decider in terms of how difficult that’s going to be.
‘We need to put on a performance where we can take something back to St James’ Park to give us a chance. I think it’s going to be very, very difficult to beat Benfica full stop, really, in both ties. We certainly need to give ourselves a chance.
‘Looking at the quality of them, and the fact that they are a Champions League team this year and are already confirmed for next year, I think you have to say they would certainly be a top eight or ten team in the Premier League.’
There’s no doubt it’s going to be a tough game at the Estádio da Luz (translated from Portuguese as the Stadium of Light – sound familiar?) for our lads, but we have to hope that Newcastle can stay in the tie tomorrow night, and certainly a goal will help.
And it may be a good thing that Newcastle are underdogs – after all we thought we could get something at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, and Newcastle now have something to prove – that they are indeed a good team.
Let’s hope they surprise us on the positive side on Thursday night.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org