Wednesday 03 April 2013
Three Barclays Premier League clubs will be in action this evening in the first legs of their quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is set to give Tim Krul a welcome birthday present by recalling his goalkeeper to the starting line-up for the away leg against Benfica.
Krul, who turned 25 on Wednesday, has missed seven matches after suffering an ankle injury against Metalist Kharkiv in February.
But the Dutchmain is back in the Newcastle squad and Pardew said: "It would be terrible of me to say on his birthday that he's definitely not playing. He's sitting up here so it's a good indication that Tim will play.
"We've got to put in a performance where we can take something back to St James'"
"He's trained very, very well. He's one of the top goalkeepers in the world and therefore this is a great opportunity for him to come back as the No 1 for Sunday [against Fulham].
"I don't mind putting that pressure on him tomorrow. He accepts at this level that if he wants to play in the Dutch national side, that's the pressure he's under and I have no doubt that he'll respond to that."
Pardew added that he will not be looking to contain the Portuguese league leaders at the Estadio da Luz.
"At St James', we can beat anybody," he said. "So we have no doubt about that game that we can beat Benfica. But this is the decider in terms of how difficult that's going to be and we've got to put in a performance where we can take something back to St James' to give us a chance because it's going to be very difficult to beat Benfica - full stop, in both ties - but we certainly need to give ourselves a chance at St James' Park.
"Their attacking options are very good and that's probably their strength. They have a lot of flair in the side, the two full-backs are very progressive, and it's going to be difficult to contain them if we come here just to defend."
Defender Davide Santon could return to the Newcastle side but Cheick Tiote (hamstring) and Massadio Haidara (knee) will miss out.
Chelsea defender David Luiz believes his team-mates will go into their home leg full of confidence after their FA Cup quarter-final victory over Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United on Monday.
The 25-year-old is set to make his 50th European appearance against the Russian side and says the squad is upbeat going into the Stamford Bridge tie.
"It's just important I focus on the next game and make sure we get the right results"
"Everybody's confident, when you beat a big team like Manchester United; it's good for you mentally," he told the club's website. "This competition is important for the club, the players and the fans, but it will be a difficult game against a team at a high level.
"Winning the trophy would give me two European titles, so hopefully we can achieve it."
Chelsea will be without Ashley Cole, who suffered a hamstring injury on Monday. Ryan Bertrand is set to replace him at left back.
"It's a chance for me to come and play in the next few games," said Bertrand. "It's just down to me to keep training well, keep my performances up to a level and keep pushing and pushing and pushing until the time comes.
"It's just important I focus on the next game and make sure we get the right results."
John Terry could start in the centre of defence as Gary Cahill is doubtful with a knee injury.
Spurs midfielder Scott Parker says his side should be wary of their Swiss opponents before the first leg at White Hart Lane.
Basel drew against and beat Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League last season and Parker believes those results should serve as a warning.
"I remember Basel knocking out Manchester United in the group stages of the Champions League last season, so it will be tough and we’re under no illusions," he said.
"It's a big miss as Defoe represents a lot for us"
"They have quality players and collectively, they are a very good team. It’s a game we’re looking to go out and win, like any other game, but we understand it will be tough."
Spurs will be without striker Jermain Defoe as the forward has a muscle tear. He will also miss Sunday's Barclays Premier League match against Everton although he has a "small chance" of making the second leg of the Basel tie on 11 April.
Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas says the injury is new and not a recurrence of the muscle tear that sidelined Defoe in February.
"Jermain has a muscle injury which is going to take him out of the next two games definitely and maybe Basel away," said Villas-Boas. "If he can't make Basel away he should be fit for Man City.
"It's a big blow. It's on the same muscle that he had a small tear last month. It's on the other side now and it's a big miss as he represents a lot for us."
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is available for the encounter at White Hart Lane after recovering from a knee injury that kept him out of the victory over Swansea City at the weekend.
All fixtures kick-off at 8.05pm
Benfica v Newcastle United
Chelsea v Rubin Kazan
Fenerbahce v Lazio
Tottenham Hotspur v FC Basel