Alan Pardew rejects 'favourites' tag

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew applauds the travelling Magpies fans at Old Trafford on December 26, 2012
© PA Photos
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew warns his players that they are in for a tough test in the second leg of their Europa League clash with Anzhi Makhachkala.

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has rejected the notion that his team are favourites to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League following their 0-0 draw against Anzhi Makhachkala in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

The Magpies boss admitted that he was pleased to keep a clean sheet, but warned his players that they will be in for a tough test against a good counter-attacking side in the second leg.

"I wouldn't say we are favourites because they have got good counter-attacking abilities in the team, but it's going to be a very different game at St James' Park," Sky Sports News quotes him as saying.

"But we really need to set it up on Sunday against Stoke. Sunday is something we need to put right.

"If we can get a win there, then I think the mood in our stadium is going to be something that's going to be very difficult for Anzhi to cope with."

Pardew went on to say that his team deserved to come away with a draw, and insisted that he would have taken a 0-0 before the game.

"We didn't really have to fight the crowd today, and that probably helped us to settle. We got what we deserved tonight. We came and gave a really disciplined display," he added.

"Rob Elliot had to make two good saves and really and truly, if someone had said that to me before the game I would have taken that. That's a really good display in the conditions and environment we were in."

Newcastle will take on Anzhi in the second leg on March 14.

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