It smells like Toon spirit

CLOSE KNIT ... Newcastle's Dan Gosling and Papiss Demba Cisse in training yesterday.
CLOSE KNIT ... Newcastle's Dan Gosling and Papiss Demba Cisse in training yesterday.

NEWCASTLE United can punch above their weight in Europe – thanks to the spirit in the dressing room.

That’s the verdict of Pardew ahead of tonight’s Europa League tie against Metalist Kharkiv.

With the competition now populated by big-spending teams which have dropped out of the Champions League, United will have to beat the odds to reach May’s final in Amsterdam.

However, Pardew’s confident the “spirit and endeavour” of his close-knit squad will count for a lot against Metalist – and beyond if the club can reach the Round of 16.

“I think we look at the other teams in the competition, and there are definitely stronger teams than us in terms of experience, and you could argue in quality,” Pardew said.

“We’re going to have to make that up with spirit and endeavour. I think we have that in the group.”

Pardew also believes the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote and Steven Taylor will come into their own over the coming weeks and months, with the trio missed a lot of football this season.

All three could start in the first leg against Metalist, whose players trained at St James’s Park yesterday after spending the best part of a week on Tyneside preparing for the game.

“We have a fresh team, as some players haven’t had a lot of football,”

added Pardew.

“Tiote, you could argue, hasn’t had anywhere near the amount of games last year, nor Cabaye.

“Cabaye and Taylor, particularly, look fresh. That might help us for this competition.”