Anzhi Makhachkala coach Guus Hiddink has pinpointed Moussa Sissoko as one of Newcastle’s biggest threats ahead.
The Frenchman has scored three goals and provided three assists since moving to the Premier League in January, playing a large part in helping the Tyneside outfit pull away from the relegation zone.
And, with Alan Pardew’s side set to visit Russia to do battle for a quarter-final place the Europa League on Thursday, Hiddink is fully aware of the quality among the opposition squad.
“It will be very interesting to see how we compare to a side from one of the top leagues in Europe,” he told reporters.
“Newcastle did not start the season well, but they have improved a lot in recent weeks,
“They are a strong team that plays modern football. They have powerful and skilful players in every position, such as Moussa Sissoko.”
The Dutchman is likely to field a team including stars such as Samuel Eto’o, Willian and Lassana Diarra, and he believes these players will be boosted by the presence of strong home support.
“Their players are used to not playing in Makhachkala,” he added. “We got a good crowd for our last game – even though the Luzhniki is a huge stadium we could feel the crowd behind us.”
Hiddink also hit back at the negative coverage Anzhi have received in the past and insisted that, contrary to common belief, the big-spending club is currently operating on a sustainable, long-term blueprint for success.
He added: “The club is growing. Our academy has started up and soon we will start to play at our new stadium in the Russian league.
“We do not just spend money on players, as some believe, but we are developing the infrastructure.”