Pardew: Newcastle can win Europa
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes his current crop of players is in a position to end the club's 44-year wait for a major trophy after progressing to the last-16 of the Europa League with a battling 1-0 aggregate win against Metalist Kharkiv in Ukraine.
Pardew's side will now face Guus Hiddink's expensively assembled Anzhi Makhachkala in the next round after coming through a stern test of the European credentials in front of a hostile crowd in Kharkiv.
"I really feel as though we can give this competition a good go now," Pardew said. "We had some heroes out there tonight and this game has given us a good test ahead of the next round.
"It was a really good encounter over the two legs. We deserved to win the first game, and had a grip here in the first 60 minutes. We got the goal at a great time and did well to hold on for the victory.
"With the squad we have here now and the players we have coming back into contention, there is no reason why we can't give anyone a good game. We have Hatem Ben Arfa coming back and Cheick Tiote too after he was ill here, so we have options in several positions.
"What we have to try and do now is recover quickly ahead of the Southampton game in the Premier League one Sunday. That match is crucial to our hopes of pushing on and getting away from the bottom half of the table and we have to recover quickly."
Pardew revealed he gave Shola Ameobi a pre-match pep-talk as he wanted to see more from the veteran striker, who duly delivered with a much improved display and the winning goal from the penalty spot.
"I had a little word with Shola before this game because I thought his contribution could have been greater in the last few weeks," he said. "Against this team, I always thought he might influence the game and he showed his quality.
"Hopefully that bodes well for the rest of this season because Shola can be a big player for us and we need him to be at his best."