Pardew hits back at Lisbon press claim that Newcastle's Benfica challenge is 'Mission Impossible'

By Colin Young

|


Newcastle United landed in Portugal's capital to find they have been written off as Europa League contenders.

Alan Pardew may be in it to win it after securing their quarter-final place, and a showdown with Benfica at the Stadium of Light, with two impressive wins over Metalist Kharkiv and Anzhi Makhachkala.

But such is the form and credentials of the current Benfica team, who lead the Portuguese league by four points from Porto, have not lost in 29 games since October, scored 102 goals in all competitions this season, including 18 in the last four games, that one Lisbon paper has declared Newcastle's chances as 'Mission Impossible'.

Tough task: But Alan Pardew, at Benfica's Estadio da Luiz yesterday, says the tie is not 'Mission Impossible'

Tough task: But Alan Pardew, at Benfica's Estadio da Luiz yesterday, says the tie is not 'Mission Impossible'

Watching Brief: Newcastle

Pardew is refusing to believe his team can't reach the Europa League semi-finals.

The Benfica stats speak for themselves but the Newcastle boss has also given his players detailed video analysis of Jorge Jesus's impressive young team, as well as taken advice from Andre Villas Boas and Neil Lennon.

'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.'

Stretching out: James Perch (left) and Ryan Taylor (right) warm-up during training in Portugal yesterday

Stretching out: James Perch (left) and Ryan Taylor (right) warm-up during training in Portugal yesterday

All smiles: Yohan Cabaye (left) and Gael Bigirimana (centre) share a joke during training ahead of the clash

All smiles: Yohan Cabaye (left) and Gael Bigirimana (centre) share a joke during training ahead of the clash

Hot streak: Benfica, in training ahead of the Newcastle tie, are in great form in the Portuguese league

Hot streak: Benfica, in training ahead of the Newcastle tie, are in great form in the Portuguese league

Pardew looks set to welcome back first choice keeper Tim Krul after he returned to training this week following a lengthy lay-off with an ankle injury picked up in the win in Ukraine early last month.

That means a return to the bench for Rob Elliot, who has impressed Ireland's coach in his first Premier League run-out, but Pardew is clearly pleased to have the Dutchman back.

He added: 'Tim has trained very, very well. I think he's one of the top goalkeepers in the world so it is a great opportunity to come back as the Number One for Sunday.

'I don't mind putting that pressure on him tomorrow. He accepts at this level, if he wants to play in the Dutch national side that's the pressure he's under. And I have no doubt he will respond to that.'

 

 

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

He has tobe one of the smuggest people in football , if he was chocolate he would have eaten himself oh he's a crap manager as well , Alan carrs dad has put that club back on the map

Click to rate     Rating   8

All you haters on here having a go at Newcastle must either support a team that doesn't qualify for Europe 'cough' mentioning no names 5under1land. I am a Newcastle fan but when it come to Europe I always support the English sides. Come on it's like England playing portugal and the England fans supporting Portugal. Hope we do ourselves proud tonight and give all you haters nothing to talk about. HWTL

Click to rate     Rating   11

- George Butler , Sandhurst, 04/4/2013 12:24 Hahaha not the old "always in our shadow" line. I remember not too long ago that flag being unveiled and it was you in our shadow. We wont have to wait too long for that win now we have PDC..... Again FTM

Click to rate     Rating   15

Fountain New Breed, South Shileds. Your bitterness is getting the better of you. Must be hard to see the bright side of anything when you are always walking in our shadow. So sad when the height of your season's ambition is to either see the toon fail or win a derby match. When was the last ytime you beat us then? Remind me.

Click to rate     Rating   10

Come on the English sides, hope one of us brings a European trophy home, even if it is the Wazzock cup

Click to rate     Rating   13

A humiliating defeat will suffice. FTM

Click to rate     Rating   24

Geordies are gonna get steamrollered ha !!!! - i know everything, somewhere out there, 04/04/2013 06:57. Who do you support then? Are you a plastic Man United, Chelsea or Man City fan? If not then I'm guessing your just jealous because you don't have a European Quarter Final to look forward to.

Click to rate     Rating   14

A 1-0 lose and beat them at st James would be a good result

Click to rate     Rating   14

Great to see Ryan Taylor back in training!

Click to rate     Rating   25

Portugeese press seem to be forgeting that Benfica failed to qualify from a CL group ahead of Celtic. Doesnt exactly make them sound like the most daunting opposition

Click to rate     Rating   32

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

You have 1000 characters left.
Libellous and abusive comments are not allowed. Please read our House Rules.
For information about privacy and cookies please read our Privacy Policy.
Terms