Alan Pardew 'proud' despite defeat

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew before kick-off in the Europa League tie against Metalist Kharkiv on February 14, 2013
© PA Photos
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew says that he is proud of his players despite their exit from the Europa League at the quarter-final stage.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has declared that he is "proud" of his team following tonight's 1-1 draw in the second leg of the Europa League clash with Benfica.

The Magpies bowed out of the competition 4-2 on aggregate, but Pardew said that he could not have expected any more from his players.

"No regret, in terms of the gameplan, they are a good side, so you can't let them have the lead. We almost got one before half time and in the second half we [knew we] would give them a real good seeing to," he told ITV Sport.

"I can't ask for anything more from the crowd and the players.

"You have to respect the opposition, they are a superb side, they have three or four players there that will be around in European football for 10 years. I am proud of the players, you can't ask for any more. I'm proud of the performance and the way they played."

Papiss Cisse gave Newcastle the lead on the night, making it 3-2 on aggregate, but Eduardo Salvio scored the goal that killed off the contest in stoppage time.

Newcastle's Papiss Cisse grabs the ball after scoring against Benfica on April 11, 2013
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