Hatem Ben Arfa: 'We can make Europa League quarter-finals'

Hatem Ben Arfa runs around delighted after nabbing an equaliser for Newcastle on December 10, 2012
© PA Photos
Hatem Ben Arfa believes that Newcastle's goalless draw with Anzhi Makhachkala puts them in a strong position to progress in the Europa League.

Hatem Ben Arfa has said that Newcastle United can secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League this season.

The Magpies were held to a goalless draw with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in the first leg of their last-16 tie yesterday.

The French winger told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle: "We haven't lost and we have a great chance to qualify. I had a chance and I actually tried to chip it high over the keeper. I was aiming for more uplift, but on that pitch it isn't the same as on grass.

"I hope next game I get another chance and this time I'll score. It was hard on the plastic pitch because it isn't easy on the knees. But that is the game and we had to play on it.

"We were solid and we tried to keep the ball, but it was a night when we didn't have too many chances to score. I think 0-0 though is a good scoreline. We always prefer to score a goal or two of course. Yet this gives us a good chance to get through."

The second leg of the tie takes place at St James' Park next Thursday.

Hatem Ben Arfa, Robin Van Persie
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