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Anita's Anzhi Appraisal

Written by Newcastle Utd

Vurnon Anita speaks exclusively to nufc.co.uk after Thursday night's Europa League draw against Anzhi Makhachkala

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Vurnon Anita admitted Newcastle's 0-0 draw in Moscow was a good scoreline to take back to St. James' Park next week - but insisted that the Magpies still have it all to do if they're to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

The Magpies were tight and compact, even if they did not create many chances of their own against Anzhi Makhachkala at the Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday.

On an artificial pitch, Anita was heavily involved in a well-organised and hard-working team display from Alan Pardew's side.

Having become the first foreign team to avoid defeat to Anzhi in Russia this season, any kind of win in the home leg would put the Magpies through to the last eight.

But, speaking exclusively to nufc.co.uk, Anita warned: "It's still difficult because they've got world class players that can score goals.

"So we must be on our guard and be sharp to finish it at home.

"It's a good result. We hoped to score a goal, of course - that didn't happen but we didn't concede a goal, so that's good.

"We wanted to score but the game didn't go that way. We had not many chances but we were good in our shape and they didn't score, so now we must win at home.

"I think we did well. We kept the ball and we played well."

For Anita, it was only a second start since January's Barclays Premier League defeat to Reading but he slotted in as though he'd never been away. 

"I'd played before on this pitch in this stadium, for Ajax against Spartak Moscow, so I knew the pitch," he explained.

"It was very cold but we're used to that in Newcastle!

"I felt good. It's a long time since I played that long but it was good. I'll keep on working hard on the training ground to get more minutes and hopefully I will get them."

The Dutch midfielder also praised the 72 away fans who made the arduous journey to Russia and urged the Newcastle supporters to turn out in their numbers for the decisive second leg next Thursday night.

"It was a long way for them but we're happy that they came to support us," he said. "I think we gave them good football and we hope to finish it at home.

"It's a big game for the whole Club so I think they will come to cheer us on and to help us."

Click here to buy tickets for next Thursday's second leg against Anzhi Makhachkala