Alan Pardew demands Europa League response

Pardew demands European response
© PA Photos
Alan Pardew backs his Newcastle United players to avoid a third consecutive home defeat against Maritimo on Thursday to ensure qualification for the Europa League knockout stages.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has insisted that his side must concentrate on improving their home form as a matter of urgency.

The Magpies slipped to a second consecutive home defeat at the hands of Swansea City this weekend and are without a win in four games across all competitions.

Portuguese side Maritimo visit St James' Park on Thursday, with a win for Newcastle confirming their place in the Europa League knockout stages.

Pardew believes that his squad must focus all their energies on the immediate task in hand of progressing in Europe before worrying about their Premier League position.

He told reporters: "We certainly don't want to lose three home games on the trot, that would be a blow.

"It's a big game for us because if we can win it, it guarantees qualification, and that's what we need to do, get one hurdle out of the way and then look for our first win away from home in the Premier League in the next game.

"They are the two immediate hurdles in front of us."

Newcastle are unbeaten in Group D after four matches, winning both home games and drawing twice on their travels.

Alan Pardew
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