Alan Pardew has no worries over NUFC star Moussa Sissoko

GOAL JOY Moussa Cissoko, left, and Papiss Demba Cisse celebrate.
GOAL JOY Moussa Cissoko, left, and Papiss Demba Cisse celebrate.
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MARATHON man Moussa Sissoko is ready to put in more hard yards on Newcastle United’s European journey.

Sissoko has added power and drive to Alan Pardew’s midfield since his January move from Toulouse.

The 23-year-old has been a revelation in a No10 role behind lone striker Papiss Demba Cisse.

And he will again be a key man when Benfica visit St James’s Park tomorrow night for the second leg of the club’s Europa League quarater-final.

Pardew admitted he was tempted to substitute Sissoko late in Sunday’s 1-0 home win over Fulham in the belief that he was “running on empty”.

But Sissoko was left on the pitch by Pardew – and he didn’t let United down.

“It was amazing – I was going to sub Moussa,” Pardew told SportMail.

“It looked like he was just running on empty, and then he burst for 60 yards through the middle. It was pure adrenalin, I think.”

It wasn’t just Sissoko who summoned reserves of energy.

Newcastle, despite their Europa League exertions against Benfica at the Estadio da Lua three days earlier, finished strongly, and they got their rewards deep in injury time when Cisse netted a dramatic winning goal.

The strike eased the club’s relegation fears ahead of Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby. “You have to hold your hands up to the energy of the team – it was fantastic,” added Pardew, whose side are now five points clear of the relegation zone.

Newcastle face an uphill struggle as they look to overhaul a two-goal deficit when they take on Benfica in the second leg of their Europa League quarter final on Thursday.

With the backing of a sold-out St James’s Park, Newcastle need to score at least two goals in Thursday night’s second leg to progress to the semi-final stage.

The Magpies must repeat what only two other clubs have been able to achieve since the competition changed from the UEFA Cup to the Europa League in 2009.

The two clubs that have overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase are Fulham FC against Juventus and Steaua Bucharest against Ajax.

Twitter: @milesstarforth