Magpies manager knows his team face a tough test against Ukraine outfit.
Newcastle United coach Alan Pardew wants his players to help restore the club’s reputation on the Continent when they take on Metalist Kharkiv in the first leg of their round-of-32 Europa League tie at St James’ Park on Thursday night.
“We’re obviously going up a level in terms of opposition as well and no disrespect to Bordeaux who won our group, but I think Metalist are a little bit stronger than them and I think this is a huge test for us,” Pardew said in his pre-match press conference.
“With the Ukrainian teams and the Russian teams getting some of the world stars they’ve definitely upped their game – and we’re up against a new name really in terms of European football and it’s a name I think is going to stick around for a while.
“So, it’s a good platform for them, but we don’t want to be the victims of that. We’re an old name and a legendary name in some ways in competitions in Europe and we want to keep it that way.”
“We have a Norwegian referee tomorrow. I hope he plays well. I looked at the game last night. My personal opinion of that game was the referee should have been much tougher at set-plays, didn’t give the offensive team any opportunity to attack the game and I think that’s wrong.”