Massadio Haidara

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

 

Fit-again Massadio Haidara believes Newcastle United will leave the Europa League with their "heads held high", following a gutsy quarter-final display against Benfica on Thursday.

The Magpies secured a 1-1 second-leg draw against the Portuguese giants at St. James' Park, but exited the competition 4-2 on aggregate.

However, it was a welcome - and quicker-than-expected - return to action for the French left-back who was stretchered off at Wigan less than four weeks ago following a high, late challenge from Callum McManaman.

By his own admission, Haidara thought his season had ended on that miserable afternoon at the DW Stadium and he was delighted to be back involved so soon.

"Of course, I was definitely happy to be back out there," the 20-year-old told nufc.co.uk in an exclusive interview.

"When I first got injured I thought that was it, my season over. Fortunately it was more of a scare rather than actual injury in the end.

"To come back just over three weeks later and start straight away was special.

"We deserve to be proud of our performance. We played a great match and did what we had to go out there and do. Unfortunately, we just couldn't quite get the second goal to get where we needed to be.

"Even at 0-0 everyone thought we could still go through, so when we went one up it gave us even more desire to keep going and keep believing.

"It was a real shame to have conceded at the death as we did, especially after such a great performance. But we go out of this competition with our head held high and hopefully we made the fans happy with our performance."

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