Newcastle can compete at home and in Europe says Coloccini

HEAD BOY: Fabricio Coloccini heads the ball clear as Atromitos try to attack. Picture by FRANK REID
HEAD BOY: Fabricio Coloccini heads the ball clear as Atromitos try to attack. Picture by FRANK REID

FABRICIO Coloccini is confident Newcastle United can compete at home and abroad this season.

The club qualified for the Europa League’s group stage this week.

And Coloccini and his team-mates – who face Aston Villa at home tomorrow – will play six European games between now and December.

Newcastle have been paired with Club Brugge, Bordeaux and Maritimo in Group D.

The extra fixtures will place a strain on a squad which has had only one senior addition this summer – Vurnon Anita.

While Coloccini admits United’s number one priority is their league form – manager Alan Pardew wants the club to again challenge for a Champions League place – he believes the squad can cope with the additional matches.

“The most important thing is the league, and then the FA Cup,” said Coloccini.

“Then we want to try to get good results in the other cups.”

Newcastle beat Atromitos 2-1 on aggregate in their Europa League qualifier, with Haris Vuckic scoring the decisive goal in the second leg.

“For the players and the fans, it was very important,” added the 30-year-old. “We fought hard last year to be in the Europa League and for us, it’s important.

“We didn’t play well (against Atromitos). We should have won by more than one goal, but that happens.

“What is important is the result.

“It’s going to be important for us. Big teams will come here and the fans can enjoy that.”

Elswehere in the Europa League, Liverpool were drawn to face Udinese, Young Boys and Anzhi Makhachkala in Group A, while in Group J, Tottenham Hotspur must tackle Panathinaikos, Lazio and Maribor.