By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Alan Pardew was relieved to make it through to the Europa League knockout stage after Maritimo gave Newcastle a shock on Thursday night.
The Magpies were ahead at half-time thanks to Sylvain Marveaux's impressive finish, but never hit top gear at St. James' Park and were made to pay late on as substitute Fidelis struck home to secure a 1-1 draw.
The point, coupled with Bordeaux's victory at Club Brugge in the other Group D fixture, secured United's place in the next phase of the competiton, but Pardew admitted that injuries to a couple of key players knocked the stuffing out of his side.
"We were so unfortunate to lose Hatem and then Papiss," the manager told nufcTV.
"We didn't have enough threat at the top of the pitch to keep the pressure on Maritimo, and therefore the last 20 minutes was horrible really.
"We knew we were through, maybe we got a bit complacent in our play, but I'm very pleased because I thought we were good up until the final 20 minutes.
"We have played well in this competition and we deserve to still be in it in February. And hopefully we will be in a much better state than we are at the minute, because we are right up against it in terms of injuries."
Marveaux's goal was his first competitive strike for Newcastle, capping a bright display by the Frenchman who arrived from Rennes in the summer of 2011.
And Pardew has challenged him to use it as a springboard for his Tyneside career and make the most of the chances that will come his way.
"We are down to the level where people like Sylvain are going to get a start.
"He needs to add consistency to his play. He had some nice moments tonight but we need him to be consistently strong and mentally strong if you are going to play in the Premier League.
"He needs to grow quickly if he is going to start games."