• Europa League

Coloccini unsure of long-term Newcastle future

ESPN staff
February 21, 2013

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Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini has insisted he is fully committed to his task in the North East of England, despite making concerted efforts to leave the St James' Park club during last month's transfer window.

Coloccini made no secret of his desire to return to his Argentine homeland just a few weeks ago, but he has moved to re-assure Newcastle supporters that his devotion to their cause will not waver so long as he is wearing the black and white shirt.

"When the situation was finished in January, I said to the club that we can turn the page and we can move on," he is quoted in the Daily Mirror ahead of Newcastle's Europa League tie against Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday.

"I'm only focusing on the club now. Next season, I don't know. I just want to be focused on the Premier League and the Europa League this season.

"There are many tests ahead but I think we have got a squad which is strong enough to cope with what is in front of us, one that can go on to better things. Of course, all of us would love to go to the Europa League final and win it, but we can only afford to take things step by step for now.

"I know it's a long time, too long a time, since this club won anything. Newcastle have won nothing for so many years and that is wrong. We want to put that right and get our names in the history books, but we are too far away to talk of that now."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew made the five-hour trip to Ukraine for the re-match with Metalist still seething from the decisions that forced his team to settle for a 0-0 draw in the first left at St James' Park last Thursday.

TV replays confirmed that Newcastle had two goals disallowed for incorrect offside decisions, with Pardew convinced his players will be motivated by that injustice as they look to seal a place in the last 16 of the Europa League.

"I was incensed by what happened in the first game against Metalist because the idea in the modern game is to give the benefit of the doubt to attacking players when it comes to offside," stated Pardew. "Well, this linesman managed to give two offside decisions that were wrong and it was hard to take. One maybe, but two in the same game?

"What we take into this game is our fine performance against Metalist last week and the knowledge that a scoring draw will get us through to the next round. Hopefully the players are driven by what happened last week because we have the quality in our squad to make progress in this competition now."

Metalist player to watch: Metalist are highly likely to be more attack-minded on home soil and Jonathan Cristaldo could show why he is so highly rated. He showed glimpses of quality on Tyneside but is likely to be far more potent at home.

Newcastle player to watch: Moussa Sissoko has made a positive impression since joining the club in January and his dynamic play from midfield will drive the Magpies forward

Betting: Metalist have an impressive record at home in Europe, having lost only once in their last 11 matches in Kharkiv, and they can be backed at 10/11 to emerge victorious - while 15/8 is available for them to be winning at half-time and full-time.

Prediction: 3-0

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