• Europa League

Pardew pleased with Benfica draw

ESPN staff
March 15, 2013
Alan Pardew is not concerned about facing one of the favourites to win the Europa League © PA Photos

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Alan Pardew says he is happy his Newcastle United side were paired with Benfica in Friday's Europa League quarter-final draw.

Newcastle will travel to the Estadio da Luz on April 4 before hosting Benfica a week later in the return leg, and Pardew is upbeat about the prospect of taking on the Portuguese league leaders.

"Obviously we're really pleased with the draw," Pardew told the club's official website. "The second leg being at home gives us perhaps a slight advantage.

"For our fans, Portugal is accessible for them and they'll look forward to that. Lisbon is a fantastic city - I bet they're online now getting their flights. I hope so."

Benfica, two-time champions of Europe in the 1960s, are among the favourites to win the competition, and Pardew added: "They're top of the league, they're going well. It's a fantastic history, perhaps even greater than our own."

Newcastle had to see off big-spending Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala to book their place in the quarter-finals and Sylvain Marveaux feels it shows the quality the club has.

"Everyone wanted this win," he said. "It's great to play with other top clubs. We proved that we are a good side because it is the quarter-finals, but we can do better."

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