Newcastle will adopt a winning mentality in Europa League
Alan Pardew has ordered his Newcastle players to go into tonight's Europa League showdown with Anzhi Makhachkala believing they can win the trophy.
Newcastle will look to gain a foothold in the two-legged last 16 clash on the artificial pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium before heading back to Tyneside aiming to secure a quarter-final berth.
Pardew freely admits that big-spending Anzhi are the toughest nut they have had to crack in the competition yet, but with his opposite number, Guus Hiddink, having voiced the opinion that the Premier League side will believe they can reach May's final in Amsterdam, the Englishman insists they have to go into battle believing that is a possibility.
Pardew said: "When you get to this stage, all the clubs have a chance. You need some luck, but you need a good technical game and you need to have the right mentality in the group. Our mentality is strong.
"This tie is going to be close and the result here will have a huge reflection on St James' Park."
If Newcastle are to leave Russia with a positive result, or at least one that keeps their hopes of progressing alive, they will have to do it without at least six members of what has become Pardew's strongest starting line-up.
Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini are injured and Mathieu Debuchy and Yoan Gouffran ineligible, while Papiss Cisse did not make the plane because of a virus and Jonas Gutierrez stayed behind with Pardew not wanting to aggravate a knee condition by playing him on the plastic pitch.
Newcastle have trained for three days on a similar pitch at Druid Park, home of Gosforth RFC. Pardew said: "We have practised for three days on the surface, so we have prepared ourselves."
Kick-off 5pm, Stadion Luzhniki.
TV ITV 4.
Referee I Vad (Hun).
Belfast Telegraph Digital