Pardew backs English clubs to thrive in race for Europa glory
Alan Pardew believes that an English club will win this year's Europa League, ending the country's poor record in the competition.
Newcastle, Tottenham and Chelsea could yet make it through to the final eight of a competition that – in its various guises – has been won only twice by clubs from England in the last 30 years.
"Outside Manchester United, the Premier League has not been of the standard of last year," Pardew said.
"The group that's below the top four is getting stronger, with Everton, Spurs and ourselves. Although our league place doesn't justify that, I think next year we'll be competing in that (group).
"The depth of the Premier League is in no doubt, and if I was a betting man, I think the winners of the Europa League could come from England this year because the three left can concentrate on it, they're not going for the title."
Newcastle face Anzhi Makhachkala at St James' Park tonight, after holding the Russian side to a goalless draw in Dagestan last week. "We've had a tough season so it would be nice for the fans to think we could win the trophy," Pardew added.
"We've approached this competition as a significance of our league achievement last season. We're in it to win it. Getting to the last eight wouldn't mean much otherwise.
"The spirit in the camp is terrific so we will go into the game on the front foot as we always do." (© Independent News Service)
Newcastle v Anzhi Makhachkala,
Live, ESPN/Setanta Ireland, 8.0