Newcastle v Maritimo: Alan Pardew concerned by slump in form
Newcastle v Maritimo: Alan Pardew admits his concern at his side's dramatic slump in form in recent games
Alan Pardew has admitted he is concerned by Newcastle United’s dramatic slump in form ahead of must-win Europa League clash against Maritimo.
The Magpies can book their place in the knockout stage with victory over their Portuguese opponents at St James’ Park on Thursday.
But Pardew is worried about his side’s recent form following back-to-back defeats at home in the Premier League, and with injury problems mounting, the Newcastle boss admitted it is a big night for his side.
“We are all concerned,” said Pardew. “We’ve lost two home games and that’s not acceptable for us.
“We need to make sure we win and qualify so it’s a big night for us. We entered the Europa League to win it.
“This is the first time since I’ve been there that we’ve lost a couple of home games on the spin like that.
“We’ve lost so many players to injuries and we’ve lost rhythm because of lack of time to work on the training pitch due to playing so many matches.
“It’s difficult but losing two home games is not acceptable to us.”
Newcastle v Maritimo: Pre-match facts
• Newcastle’s Shola Ameobi and Marítimo’s Valentin Roberge both hit the woodwork as the sides’ first meeting ended in a 0-0 draw on matchday one.
• Marítimo’s four previous games against English sides were all against Leeds United, who they met in the first round of two Uefa Cup campaigns, in 1998-99 and 2001-02. Leeds won both ties.
• Marítimo have yet to score a goal in England, having lost 1-0 and 3-0 on their two previous visits.
• Three games against Sporting Lisbon represented the sum total of Newcastle’s experience of Portugues opposition prior to matchday one. They drew 1-1 with Lisbon in the 2004-05 Uefa Cup group stage, but lost out to the same side in the quarter-finals, winning 1-0 at home then going down 4-1 in the Portuguese capital.