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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Pardew: Newcastle have been 'humbled'

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew claims his side have been 'humbled' after back-to-back home defeats in the Premier League and he has challenged his players to respond in a positive manner as he faces up to his first mini-crisis as boss at St James' Park.

• Blog: Keep the faith

West Ham and Swansea have left Tyneside with all three points in the last fortnight, leaving Pardew to lick his wounds and demand a response from his players against Maritimo in the Europa League on Thursday night.

"We have been humbled, but we have got to keep going as I don't want confidence suffering," Pardew said. "I don't care how good you are, you can suffer with your confidence and we don't want to go down that road.

"I think when you've been humbled, there's only one way to respond. I expect my team to respond as I know they can. This is the first tricky spell I have had in my time here, but there is only one way to get around that and the players know what is expected of them."

Pardew concedes the addition of Europa League games has pushed his squad to the full this season, with injuries and suspensions costing Newcastle as they have struggled to find continuity after their heroics of last term.

"The squad has been stretched and injuries compound that," he said. "With these type of competitions you do need a little bit of luck and we've had bad luck, losing a couple of players long term and picking up problems to key players in recent weeks. We didn't have those injuries last year, but we have to deal with it.

"We've worked out the Europa League and we tend to play better in the Thursday games than the Sunday games. Maybe we can switch those and it would be better for us, but we know that there will be a feel-good factor if we can get into the knock out round of the competition. If we get the win against Maritimo, we should be close to qualifying."

Meanwhile, Pardew has confirmed key midfielder Yohan Cabaye is set to go under the knife to resolve a groin injury he picked up on international duty with France last week.

"We don't know how long he's going to be out for but we've got our fingers crossed," he said. "He is a very important player and we need to have him right."

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