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Pardew wary of Brugge threat

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has warned his players not to underestimate Club Brugge - despite the club's current off-field issues.

• Blog: Newcastle's Anfield woes end

Brugge sacked manager George Leekens at the weekend after a 1-0 home defeat to Zulte-Waregem, with both parties now embroiled in a bitter battle over the amount of compensation Leekens is due.

Despite this, Pardew believes their opponents still pose a considerable threat of making it a tough fixture for a Newcastle side that has injury concerns ahead of Thursday's game.

"It's an opportunity to get the qualification sorted, and that's what we want to do," Pardew told the Northern Echo.

"But it's easier said than done because we're all aware of Brugge's qualities after the first game and we're carrying three more big injuries after the trip to Liverpool at the weekend.

"The squad is really being stretched at the moment, and there's no doubt that events at Anfield at the weekend have hurt us. But because of their suspensions, (Fabricio) Coloccini and (Cheick) Tiote definitely come into the equation where they might not have in other circumstances."

He went onto add: "We saw enough from Brugge in the game at St James' to know that they'll pose a threat on their home ground. European teams at home are often a very different proposition to when they're playing away.

"It will be a tough game - we're under no illusions about that. It's going to be important that we're the ones controlling proceedings from the very first minute."

Meanwhile, Vurnon Anita has said Newcastle must look to win the game in Brugge - with the Dutch international keen to cease his chance in the first team.

"We want to go through in the Europa League," Anita said. "The opposition is very good, so we must keep on working hard to go through. It is very close. The game against Brugge is important and we must go there to win the game.

"That is important. I am happy I started and finished the game also. That is good. It went well. I went to midfield and then right-back at the end.

"I can play both positions - that is no problem. It was the same in Holland - I must keep on working hard in training. When my chance is there, I must take it."


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