Alan Pardew beckons Newcastle to keep on fighting after 3-1 defeat to Benfica
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew claims his side is still capable of grabbing a Europa League semifinals spot, but admits the odds are against them after their 3-1 defeat to Benfica in the first-leg of the quarterfinal.
An early goal from Papiss Cisse made Newcastle United believe they will grab a huge away victory following their lengthy European campaign. However, a strong comeback from Benfica saw the Premier League outfit fall down into shambles with goals coming from Rodrigo, Lima and Oscar Cardozo.
Alan Pardew admits Jorge Jesus and Co. played brilliantly against them at Lisbon. The St. James’ Park also confessed that in spite of making few mistakes, Newcastle United will have to fight hard for a comeback at this stage.
“We've done so much right tonight and got ourselves into a great position with Papiss' goal,” Alan 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.”
Alan Pardew showered praise upon the Benfica side who edged closer to semifinal spot. The spot-kick goal from Oscar Cardozo in the 71st minute did a lot of damage to Newcastle United’s European campaign, yet Alan Pardew believes his men are capable of pulling off an upset at home.
“You have to say they are a quality side,” Alan Pardew added. “We have to give them respect and on the break they are going to be dangerous at St James', but we showed signs tonight that if we are ambitious and we can hurt them.”