Alan Pardew hopeful of last-four spot

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew before kick-off in the match against Manchester City on March 30, 2013
© PA Photos
Alan Pardew says that Newcastle United can still reach the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew remains optimistic that his side can reach the semi-finals of the Europa League despite losing at Benfica on Thursday.

The Portuguese side came from behind to earn a 3-1 win at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon thanks to goals from Rodrigo Moreno, Lima and Oscar Cardozo.

However, Papiss Cisse's opener provided the Magpies with an away goal in the tie, which has left Pardew believing that his side still have a chance of progression.

"We've done so much right tonight and got ourselves into a great position with Papiss's goal," Pardew told ITV Sport. "The away goal could come into it if we get the first goal at St James' Park because if we can get that first goal, we are only going to need one more.

"In terms of the performance and the players, I can't fault them. We came here to have a go at them and we did that. They caused some problems to us just before half-time for ten to 15 minutes, but other than that we were in control of the game.

"If it was 2-1, you would think we would have a good chance at home, but it is an uphill chance for us now. We can be proud of the performance, but disappointed with the result."

The return leg takes place at St James' Park on Thursday.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew before kick-off in the match against Manchester City on March 30, 2013
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