Newcastle boss impressed by quality of Ukranians

ON GUARD ... Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew watches the action.

ON GUARD ... Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew watches the action.

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NEWCASTLE United won’t under-estimate Metalist Kharkiv on home turf, according to Alan Pardew.

Pardew admitted after last night’s goalless draw that he knew little about Ukrainian football before the draw for the Round of 32 of the Europa League.

And he was impressed by what he saw from a team with a strong South American influence.

“My knowledge of that isn’t great because of the TV coverage we have here, which is saturated with La Liga and the Premier League,” Pardew said.

“But the quality of the opposition was there for everybody to see.”

It was Metalist’s first competitive game since early December, with the Ukrainian league on a winter break.

And Pardew felt the visitors were fresh as a result.

“They were fresh, and you could see that,” added Pardew. “They were itching for a game, and they played with enthusiasm.

“They played well for long periods of the game, but I don’t think my team could have played much better. I thought we should have won the game.”

Meanwhile, Metalist coach Myron Markevich, having seen Pardew’s side at first hand, said he was surprised that relegation-threatened United weren’t in the top 10 of the Premier League.

“Newcastle are a very good team, and I’m just wondering why Newcastle are not in the top 10 this time,” he said.

“It’s a very balanced team, and I think the quality shown by them was very good.

“It was quite a good game. No one sat back. It could have been a win, it could have been a defeat. Both teams could have won the game.”

Asked if his team were now favourites to progress to the Round of 16, Markevich added: “It’s 50-50.”