Do not underestimate Club Brugge says Newcastle United legend

CROWD FAVOURITE: Philippe Albert
CROWD FAVOURITE: Philippe Albert

NEWCASTLE United legend Philippe Albert has warned his old club not to underestimate Club Brugge.

Albert will be back at St James’s Park as a guest for the Europa League group game between the two sides.

And the former Belgium international, best remembered on Tyneside for his chip over Peter Schmeichel in Newcastle’s 5-0 win over Manchester United in 1996, is looking forward to seeing his countrymen take on Alan Pardew’s side.

Albert picked up striker Calos Bacca - who is doubtful because of injury - and Vadis Odjijda as the club’s main threats.

“Brugge are top of the league, but all our (Belgium’s) top players are playing abroad now, so the level of the league is a little bit low now,” Albert said.

“But they have a manager with a lot of experience, and some very, very good players who can make a difference.

“They have Carlos Bacca, a striker who plays most of the time on the right-hand side, and Vadis Odjijda, who is a very quick and very technical midfielder.

“But they have some problems at the back, because they are conceding a lot of goals at the moment.

“Of course, they’re looking forward to it. Carl Hoefkens used to play for West Bromwich Albion, and he talked to his teammates about the atmosphere in the stadium.

“They’re looking forward to coming here and getting a good result, because their last away game was terrible for them – they lost 4-0 in Bordeaux and it could have been eight or nine.”

Albert - who attended Pardew’s pre-match Press conference yesterday working for Belgian TV channel - was last at St James’s Park in January, when he watched Newcastle beat Man United 3-0.

And that game brought back memories for the 45-year-old, who will forever be associated with the fixture.

“Yes, of course, especially last time I was back in January when Newcastle beat Man United 3-0,” said Albert.

“It will be different (tonight), because Bruges is a Belgian team and I will be 50-50 – I can’t be for Newcastle because I can’t be against Bruges! But it is nice to be back again.”