Alan Pardew

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter

 

Alan Pardew is targeting top spot in Group D of the Europa League, as he looks to keep United's unbeaten European record in tact.

Already qualified for the knockout stage of the competition, the Magpies sit second in the standings - a point and a place behind Bordeaux, who they meet at the Stade Chaban Delmas on Thursday night (6pm kick-off GMT) in their final group game.

And despite being forced to take a young squad to France, due to the Magpies' lengthy injury list, Pardew revealed he will send his troops out in search of all three points.

"Obviously, we have got to protect ourselves for Monday night (away at Fulham in the Premier League), which is an important game for us, but this has its own importance," said United's boss, who is yet to taste defeat in Group D.

"We have got a very young side which is going to start, so we just hope we have got enough in that team to keep us in the game and then - obviously, the draw is no good for us - look to win it towards the end.

"The occupancy of top spot might not be relevant when the draw is made because obviously it's determined by country, and there are a few other little rules that are in there.

"But nevertheless, we still want to remain undefeated in Europe and hopefully finish top."

Following snow on Tyneside, the Magpies' flight out to France on Wednesday afternoon was delayed by nearly four hours. But Pardew is refusing to use that as any sort of ready-made excuse if his side slip up.

"We have had a long journey, but I have been in harsher situations. We are not too bad, we are okay," he said.

"We can't possibly use the delay as an excuse. Half of the north was stopped - the A1 was shut when we flew over it. We are okay, we are good to go."