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Drogba turning back the clock

Chelsea 18 hours ago
Read
Mar 6, 2012

Krul targets Europa League

Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul has warned Liverpool and Chelsea that the hard-earned draw against Sunderland is the perfect springboard for their campaign for a place in Europe next season.

Alan Pardew's side are currently sixth in the Premier League, two points behind the beleagured Blues and five clear of Liverpool, but face a tough run-in starting at Arsenal on Monday.

The Gunners' win at Anfield on Saturday has put them in the driving seat to secure the fourth and final Champions League spot, leaving the three sides behind them fighting for fifth and a place in the Europa League.

"We have a great chance of European football," said Pardew following the 1-1 derby draw with Martin O'Neill's side on Sunday. "The 11 games to go are the most important of every season. I am glad the derby is out the way and we can concentrate and get the wins we need."

Liverpool have already ensured themselves of a Europa League spot, but a fifth-place finish would save them from an early start to the season, with the second-tier competition kicking off on August 2 for the Carling Cup champions.

If Liverpool finish fifth the league's Europa League spot will drop down to sixth - while seventh place will qualify if Liverpool win the FA Cup, or any club outside the Champions League places wins the competition.

Newcastle have suffered a blip in form that looked set to see them challenge for a Champions League spot earlier in the season, but Krul believes the side can ride the momentum of Shola Ameobi's last-minute equaliser against the Black Cats.

"I think if teams like Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal watched the Sunderland game and saw the atmosphere, the fans and the commitment we showed, they will have to be afraid of us this season," said the Dutchman. "We are just behind Chelsea and yes, of course this [the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas] will increase the pressure on them. You never want your manager to be sacked, but we're looking at ourselves.

"There's 11 games to go and it will be a really hard away game next week [at Arsenal]. But I think we've got a massive chance. We're up there and we have to believe now."

Newcastle rescued a point against Sunderland at St James' Park after falling behind to Nicklas Bendtner's first-half penalty and missing a spot kick of their own in a bad-tempered match which saw two red cards shown to the visitors.

"It felt like a win, definitely," said Krul. "The fans could go home with a good feeling because we absolutely gave everything in the second half.

"It could have been even better, I think. We were all over them and we showed some proper, proper commitment in the second half. We'll take that with 11 games to go. We just have to push on from now."

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