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Friday 05 October 2012

UEFA Europa League: Pardew pleased with 'clinical' Newcastle

Pardew hails Magpies; Rodgers criticises 'lazy' Liverpool; Villas-Boas sanguine about Tottenham draw

  • Shola Ameobi gives Newcastle the lead against Bordeaux at the Sports Direct Arena

  • Giovanni Pasquale (left) celebrates after putting Udinese 3-1 up against Liverpool

  • Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham (right) takes on Panathinaios's Giorkas Seitaridis

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew was delighted by his side's "clinical" display as they completed a 3-0 UEFA Europa League Group D victory over Bordeaux.

The Ligue 1 side had not lost for 17 matches, in an unbeaten sequence in all competitions that dated back to 8 April, but Shola Ameobi's opening strike, defender Henrique's 40th-minute own goal and Papiss Cisse's effort put paid to that run.

"What pleased me most was that we played with verve and energy again and we looked more like ourselves from last year"
Alan Pardew

"What pleased me most was that we played with verve and energy again and we looked more like ourselves from last year," said the 51-year-old. "The performance level was fantastic and that's a good side, trust me. We had to play very, very well to make it as comfortable as it was.

"I can't say the result flattered us because in the end I thought we deserved to win by a distance. We knocked the spirit out of them in terms of the goals, the clinical nature of them.

"Our passing in the second half made it very difficult for them to get back in the game and that's something we've been working on, controlling games.

"That's a team that haven't been beaten in 17 games or something. I'm telling you that's a great result for us."

Newcastle, who lead their Europa League pool by a point from Bordeaux and Club Brugge, will take confidence from that result as they prepare for the visit of Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

Frustrated Rodgers rues 'lazy' Reds display

A "frustrated" Brendan Rodgers criticised his side for being "lazy" after they slipped to a 3-2 home reverse against Udinese in their UEFA Europa League Group A match.

I thought we were just lazy – that is the easiest way to describe it; just lazy in our play and loose and sloppy"
Brendan Rodgers

Despite having taken the lead midway through the first half through Jonjo Shelvey, the home side were pegged back by visiting captain Antonio Di Natale's strike in the opening minute of the second half before two goals in as many minutes – a Sebastian Coates own goal and Giovanni Pasquale's effort – had the hosts rocking on their heels.

Substitute Luis Suarez replied from a free-kick but that was as good as it got for the Barclays Premier League side whom Rodgers accused of switching off defensively.

"We are disappointed with the result because for large periods of the game we were the better side, but we have to defend better – it was very frustrating.

"We lost our concentration at the beginning of the second half and I thought we'd moved on from that to be honest. I thought we were just lazy - that is the easiest way to describe it. Just lazy in our play and loose and sloppy. It is as simple as that."

"They give me and the team everything, but at critical moments of the game – in particular at the start of the second half – we needed to be solid and tight, and we gave away three goals."

Liverpool, who lie third in Group A after two fixtures, will aim to bounce back with a Barclays Premier League home win against Stoke on Sunday.

Villas-Boas draws comfort from Athens draw

Manager Andre Villas-Boas remained upbeat about Tottenham Hotspur's prospects of qualifying from their section, despite being held to their second successive Group J draw at Panathinaikos on Thursday night.

After Michael Dawson headed the visitors in front, the Barclays Premier League side passed up a host of chances to extend their advantage, with Jermain Defoe, Gareth Bale, Clint Dempsey and Tom Huddlestone all going close, before they were pegged back by Toche's equlaier 13 minutes from time.

"I understand the disappointment at not putting the game to bed, but in the end we congratulated the players because if it had been other way round, the whole perspective would have been different"
Andre Villas-Boas

"In the end it leaves us with two points," said Villas-Boas, whose side lie third in the group after the 1-1 draw. "Maribor have three and Lazio have four so everything is open as we go into the double-headers.

"It's only after the fourth game that you tend to know who will go through or whether there is any competition for that second place. In a group like this, normally 10 or 11 points to qualify."

Villas-Boas nonetheless conceded it was disappointed not to come away with a victory after having dominated the match for so long in Athens.

"I understand the disappointment at not putting the game to bed, but in the end we congratulated the players because if it had been other way round, the whole perspective would have been different.

"Panathinaikos came at us very strong in the second half. They made a change with Ibrahim Sissoko. He improved the quality of their game and we could not stay in control of the game so much in the second half."

Selected UEFA Europa League results

Group A
Anzhi Makhachkala 2-0 Young Boys
Liverpool 2-3 Udinese

Group D
Newcastle United
3-0 Bordeaux
Club Brugge 2-0 Maritimo

Group J
Lazio 1-0 NK Maribor
Panathinaikos 1-1 Tottenham

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Key Points

  • Alan Pardew delighted by 'energetic' Newcastle's defeat of Bordeaux
  • Rodgers openly cricitical of 'lazy' Liverpool defending in Udinese reverse
  • Andre Villas-Boas positive despite 1-1 draw at Panathinaikos