Alan Pardew turns NUFC attention to Premier League safety

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew during the UEFA Europa League Round of Sixteen match at St James' Park, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 14, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Newcastle. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew during the UEFA Europa League Round of Sixteen match at St James' Park, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 14, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Newcastle. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

ALAN Pardew is looking for his weary Newcastle United players to pick themselves up and take a stride towards Premier League safety.

Pardew’s side were beaten 3-1 by Benfica last night in the first leg of the club’s Europa League quarter-final.

The squad flew back into Tyneside today, and Pardew must get them turned round for Sunday’s hugely-important home game against Fulham.

Pardew will have cup-tied forwarad Yoan Gouffran available, but “eight or nine” of the team which faced Benfica will play.

Midfielder Cheik Tiote (hamstring) is doubtful, while Danny Simpson suffered a knock at the Estadio da Luz and was taken off.

“We seem to be OK,” Pardew told SportMail. “Yoan Gouffran will come into the squad, and his energy levels will be important.

“I might think about Shola (Ameobi) as well, but eight or nine of the side are going to play on Sunday.

“They will be down-hearted, because there were some good performances.”

Asked if three points would see relegation-threatened United secure their top-flight status, Pardew went on: “I don’t want to say that.

“We know we have to get to 40 points, and I’m confident that we can.

“It would be fantastic if we could get a win against Fulham.

“We need to get the win to knock things on for Benfica, and that will then knock it on for Sunderland (on April 14) as well.

“I’m looking forward to Sunday, and I hope we can play at the level we played (against Benfica). If we do, we have a great chance of winning the game.”