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Pardew talks up success over Benfica

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is confident his side can overturn a 3-1 deficit against Benfica in the Europa League.

The Liga Sagres giants came from behind to grab a healthy advantage in Lisbon in the first leg of the quarter-final.

But Pardew believes his team, who can progress with a 2-0 win at St James’ Park on Thursday, can advance, even if they leave it late.

“Even if we need two goals with 20 minutes to go I think we can do it,” he said on Wednesday.

“I think our fans and the way we’re finishing games could be a problem for Benfica.”

Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa is fit for the return leg and Pardew expects to have his whole squad available for Sunday’s crucial English Premier League derby clash against Sunderland.

Newcastle are five points clear of the relegation zone in the league and Pardew, despite having two fixtures in four days, said they needed to win both in Europe and against their rivals.

“I think we must try and win both games. I think that’s key. We know it’s going to be a special night tomorrow. We’re really looking forward to it,” he said.

“I’ve tried to explain to our new guys what the derby and European nights are like when they’re as big as this. I don’t think they understand, but they’ll find out tomorrow.”

Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse, who opened the scoring in Lisbon, said he was ready for the two crucial encounters and believes keeping a clean sheet is important for his team.

“The mentality is good. We know we must go out there and score two goals, and we can’t afford to concede tomorrow,” Cisse said.

“But we take it as we do with every match. We’re ready, every single player wants to get out there and give everything, and we’re just going to go out there and we’re ready to play.”

Wed 10 April, 2013
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