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Feb 22, 2013

Krul relishing Europa League adventure

Tim Krul believes Newcastle are where they belong after qualifying for the last 16 of the Europa League.

• Pardew: Newcastle can win Europa

Krul, 24, made a string of top saves to maintain a clean sheet for the Magpies as they secured a 1-0 aggregate win over Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday.

Up next for Newcastle in the competition are Anzhi Makhachkala, and the Netherlands international is already relishing the prospect of facing the big-spending Russians.

"I'm really pleased, of course," Krul told the club's official website. "It's nice to be important and to make a contribution to the team. We defended well - there were some great blocks and I think we showed some of the qualities that we did last season with everybody working for each other. Everybody had to put a lot of hard graft in. We showed a lot of spirit towards the end but it's worth it, definitely.

"I think we did really well. We knew if we scored one it was going to be difficult for them to come back because they had to score two and we're really pleased to go through. It's massive for the club to be in the last 16 of the Europa League. I think that's where we belong. It's great for the club like Newcastle to be in the draw for the last 16. We're going to Anzhi [Makhachkala] now and that's a great prospect which I'm really looking forward to."

The Magpies broke the deadlock in the 64th minute from the penalty spot thanks to Shola Ameobi. And the striker admitted after the game to being slightly nervous as he notched his 15th goal in Europe for the club.

"You are nervous but it was a chance," he told the Evening Chronicle. "There was no doubt going through my mind, when I get the penalty I step up and put it where I want to put it. Fortunately I have never missed one. The confidence has always been there. It always will. It is a matter of applying myself."

Ameobi added: "[Anzhi] are a good side or they wouldn't be here. They have a lot of players and they are top players. Every opponent we get now will be tough. Whoever it is we will have to be at the top of our game."

Despite regularly appearing in Europe, Ameobi has struggled for starts in the Premier League this season. The Nigeria international admits that sporadic appearances make it difficult to generate consistent form.

"It's very difficult when you play one week and have three weeks out," he told the Shields Gazette. "It's difficult for anyone, and I'm no exception. It's hard to find your form. I just have to do the best when I'm given the chance. It's not about me – it's about the team. That always comes first.

"The manager has a big decision every week, and unfortunately I've been left out for the most part of the season. But if he wants me to do a job, I have to take the opportunity with both hands. Every opponent we get is going to be tough. The standard is high. We'll have to be at the top of our game, and play the way we did."

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