Faustino Asprilla backs Newcastle to get back into Champions League mix under new owners
Former Newcastle striker speaks exclusively to SSN's Pete Graves
By Pete Graves, Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 24/04/20 11:35am
Faustino Asprilla has challenged Newcastle's prospective new owners to take the club back into the Champions League, and called on them to stand by Steve Bruce as manager.
The former Newcastle striker once lit up St James' Park on European football's greatest stage, with a hat-trick in a famous 3-2 victory over Barcelona in 1997.
Bruce's position has come under increased scrutiny following news of the expected takeover, but Asprilla believes the current Newcastle boss is the right man to try and bring Champions League football back to Tyneside.
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"I think we have to keep Steve Bruce. He's a good manager and coach, so I think he should stay," Asprilla told Sky Sports News.
"He knows the club well. He's done very good things with limited resources in recent times, so I think he'll be able to achieve more than he has so far with better players at his disposal.
"All the coaches are good and the players are good. I have no doubts about that.
"I think we have to keep him in his role so that he keeps working on this big project."
Asprilla was part of Kevin Keegan's famous "Entertainers" team that finished runners-up to eventual Premier League champions Manchester United during the 1995/96 campaign.
The former Colombia international believes Newcastle can again challenge the top teams in the Premier League with the right investment.
"I think the most important thing is that new owners come in and Newcastle start winning games because the new owners will certainly want the team to be among the best and get back to being one of the top sides in England," Asprilla added.
"The first thing the new owners have to look at is which Newcastle sides have had the most success.
"(When I was there) they bought top players who loved the club and the shirt, and went out there to play for the fans.
"They have to choose top players who want to go to Newcastle because they're ambitious to win the Champions League and other competitions. I think that's essential in order for a team to enjoy success.
"We all want Newcastle to be back among the best internationally, not just in the Premier League, but in the Champions League as well, by doing things properly without rushing.
"Just because these owners have lots of money doesn't mean we'll go out there and just sign any old player.
"We want to put together a competitive team with good players, but not all the good ones are the most expensive.
"I think Newcastle will certainly be back among the best and fighting for the Champions League. That's what I'm hoping for."
Asprilla open to Newcastle return
Asprilla also revealed he would relish the chance to return to Newcastle as a coach if he was given the opportunity.
"If they were to give me the chance [to coach the strikers], I would be delighted to go back because I like the people in Newcastle and the way they treated me," the 50-year-old said.
"So, if I can contribute something to help achieve what I didn't win on the pitch and can do that off the pitch by coaching the strikers, it would be a pleasure.
"The Newcastle fans in England are fantastic. I was lucky enough to play all over the world, from Brazil and Colombia to Chile, Mexico and Italy.
"The Newcastle supporters really impressed me because while we were used to winning trophies in Italy with Parma, we never had 7,000 or 8,000 travelling fans per game.
"But when Newcastle played away in the Champions League, 7,000 or 8,000 fans would attend. It was crazy and that's why I think the supporters deserve much more than they have now."