• Europa League

Pardew: Second-string Newcastle can win

ESPN staff
September 20, 2012
Newcastle will have find goals against Maritimo without strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse © Getty Images

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Maritimo v Newcastle
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has warned his players not to underestimate Portuguese side Maritimo as he prepares to field an unfamiliar side in Madeira.

And the manager played down fears of a rift between himself and striker Demba Ba as Newcastle kick off their Europa League campaign with a much-changed line-up.

Newcastle are without their first-choice strike partnership Papiss Cisse, sidelined by illness, and Ba, whose agent questioned Pardew's decision to start the striker on the bench against Everton before coming on to score both the Magpies' goals in the 2-2 draw.

But the Magpies boss insists there is no problem between himself and the Senegal striker.

"That's just people needing to say things they shouldn't say, really," Pardew said. "It doesn't really affect me and Demba. We have got a good relationship."

Yohan Cabaye has also been left in Newcastle, while Hatem Ben Arfa is suspended, leading to call-ups for 17-year-old Adam Campbell and Sammy Ameobi.

"Maritimo will give us a test, you can be sure of that, but whatever team we put out I want a win," Pardew added.

Newcastle player to watch: With Tim Krul still sidelined by an elbow injury and a string of first-team players missing, Steve Harper's experience and communication with his back line will be vital if the Magpies are to avoid a disappointing start to their Europa League campaign.

Tottenham v Lazio

Mousa Dembele has high hopes for Spurs' European campaign © PA Photos

Tottenham begin their Europa League campaign against unbeaten Serie A side Lazio at White Hart Lane, with Moussa Dembele convinced the Spurs squad has the strength in depth to cope with the demands of a European campaign and the Premier League.

"We have a big squad and very good players so I think we can be very strong in both competitions," Dembele said.

"You are a top team if you have a big squad and very good players so I'm not concerned to have success in both."

And Dembele has urged Tottenham to pick up a vital win despite facing one of the form teams in Europe, with a daunting trip to Panathinaikos next up for Andre Villas-Boas' side.

"Lazio are a big team and I think Panathinaikos will be difficult too so that's why we have to win this game so we can go (to Greece) with more confidence," Dembele said.

Tottenham player to watch: Jermain Defoe is on a hot streak for Spurs right now, with his two goals against Reading on Sunday underlining his fine form. Emmanuel Adebayor's return to fitness will be a test of Andre Villas-Boas' man management, but Defoe can give his boss the perfect dilemma if he keeps up his recent scoring record.

Young Boys v Liverpool

Nuri Sahin's experience will be vital to a young Liverpool side in Switzerland © PA Photos

While Villas-Boas is expected to name a strong Spurs team, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is set to ring the changes as the Reds travel to Switzerland to face Young Boys, with a string of first-team players missing from the squad.

Captain Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Jose Reina, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Joe Allen and Martin Kelly are all rested ahead of the Premier League showdown with Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.

The likes of Samed Yesil, Suso, Andre Wisdom, Adam Morgan, Jack Robinson and Dani Pacheco will be among those on hand to deputise in Switzerland.

And Young Boys coach Martin Rueda has warned Rodgers that he is gambling with Liverpool's European campaign by fielding an under-strength side.

"I don't think they can afford to turn up without their best players, especially since they did not shine in the early season," Rueda said. "That makes me say that we are not far from them. We can embarrass Liverpool."

Liverpool player to watch: After a low key debut against Arsenal, Nuri Sahin was left on the bench against Sunderland and has admitted he needs to work on his match sharpness. But with Rodgers fielding a young side against Young Boys, the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder will be expected to take on more responsibility at Stade de Suisse.

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