Alan Pardew came up with the perfect match plan lat night to try to get a 2-0 win against Benfica, and progress to the semi-finals of the Europa League – and his Newcastle side almost executed the plan perfectly – almost.
Alan Pardew – on the sidelines last night
But we couldn’t get that second goal after Papiss Cisse had again put us ahead after 71 minutes, and then two minutes into stoppage time Benfica scored to save the game – but at least we broke their winning streak – and we almost kept them goalless – almost.
This is what Alan Pardew said on nufcTV after the game:
“It was a great night, and in a lot of ways you can’t take much more out of a defeat than that,” “We put everything at risk tonight and forgot about the Sunderland game on Sunday.”
“We tried to go for it.” “In the first leg in Benfica they exposed us by cutting through our wide players, but we wouldn’t let that happen tonight.”
“Once we got them on the backfoot they got very nervous, and we are so unlucky not to be in the semi-final, for sure.”“I’m proud to be manager of this football club. What a credit we have been to this competition and to Europe.”
“And I’m not just talking about the team, I’m talking about the whole club, the fans and the way they’ve conducted themselves on this little European tour of ours.”
Those are great words from the Newcastle manager – who still had his critics – but he did everything right last night and he did everything right last Sunday.
And hopefully we can finish off our five games in 15 days run, with a nice win on Sunday against Sunderland – when we should have a very strong starting eleven and a strong bench.
It was great to see Ben Arfa back for Newcastle in that second half last night – and congratulations to Massadio Haidara, who played very well, and didn’t flinch once in the tackle.
It takes courage and character to do that when you’re coming back from a tackle like the one he received from Callum McManaman of Wigan – Massadio was great last night and we expect him to start against Sunderland..
And Mike Williamson – in from the cold finally – also had a very solid game last night, on his return to the Newcastle first team.
The lads didn’t do it last night – but we’re still so proud of them.
Note – today we are trying to help one of our readers, Bagus Asmanu – who is studying at INTO Manchester – in partnership with Manchester University – and Bagus is completing a dissertation – with some work on the Wonga deal with Newcastle United – and he wants as many Newcastle supporters as possible to complete his questionnaire. Here it is - please help Bagus if you can.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org