Newcastle boss Alan Pardew says Metalist Kharkiv represent a step up in class from Bordeaux
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew says he is finally content with his squad as he prepares his side to face Metalist Kharkiv.
Last Updated: 14/02/13 8:05pm
The injury crisis that has plagued St James' Park this season is showing signs of abating while Pardew strengthened his squad in January with the addition of Moussa Sissoko, Massadio Haidara, Yoan Gouffran, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Mathieu Debuchy.
And the Newcastle boss believes his side is beginning to look like the team that finished fifth in the Premier League last season.
He said: "We finished fifth [in the Premier League] last year and I looked at the team, we haven't really had that team to put out at any stage of this competition.
"Even against Bordeaux, I wouldn't say that was my best team, although we played well that night in the home game (a 3-0 win).
"Now I am back to a team that's very similar to the one I had last year in terms of strength and quality - Yohan Cabaye, Steven Taylor, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko - they have strengthened our hand, so for sure we are looking stronger in this competition.
"Hopefully we can get through this tie and if we get through this tie, and hopefully get a couple of favourable Premier League results, suddenly we can really look forward to it.
"But we are obviously going up a level in terms of opposition. No disrespect to Bordeaux, who won our group, but Metalist are a little bit stronger than them and this is a huge test for us."