The Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, is hoping to head into the knockout stages of the Europa League with a significantly stronger squad than the one with which he started.
Newcastle had already qualified for the next stage of the competition before tonight’s 2-0 defeat in Bordeaux, which saw the French side retain their place at the top of Group D to secure, in theory at least, a more favourable draw.
Pardew fielded an inexperienced side at the Stade Chaban-Delmas with the likes of Davide Santon, Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba all left at home nursing injuries and Steven Taylor and Yohan Cabaye on the long-term casualty list.
However, he is hoping that by the time they resume their European campaign in February, his hand will have been strengthened considerably.
Pardew said: “We wanted to qualify, that was the first agenda in this competition, and we did that with a game to spare.
“I think it would have been difficult coming here if we both hadn’t qualified and they played their best team on that pitch. It would have been difficult for us because they have got some very good players.
“But the bottom line is we have qualified and we can look forward to February.
“I am just hoping that, fingers-crossed, when we come out of the other side of the window, we have got a stronger squad.”
Man of the match Diabaté.
Match rating 6/10.
Referee M Masiah (Israel).
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