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League success the priority for Pardew

29 August 2012 20:19

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is rallying his weary squad for Thursday's Europa League second-leg playoff against Greek side Atromitos.

The Premier League side battled to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Athens on Thursday before Saturday's 2-0 league defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Magpies are finding out the hard way the loading of fixtures, with Sunday's Premier League encounter with Aston Villa coming hot on the heels of Thursday's second leg with Atromitos.

Pardew said the league remained the priority despite the valuable experience European competition posed and voiced his displeasure at being forced to play two games in three days last week.

"Well not Thursday to Sunday, that's ok. Thursday to Saturday is a little bit trickier," Pardew said.

"Our stats from the weekend (against Chelsea) were down, you'd expect that. It wasn't ideal, and it was unfair on us a little bit.

"Thursday to Sunday, I have no complaints. We go into these two games looking to win them both."

With a squad of 24, Pardew expects to stretch his resources to the maximum this season.

"Just trying to put a side out that we think is going to win. We've got 24 players here, they're all going to be used, whether it's in the Europa League, the Premier League, FA Cup or League Cup," he said.

"And they all have to be good enough, because we're paying them good money to be professionals here. So we have to get our use and worth out of them for the club."

Paul Lambert's Villa have not started the campaign with great success - without a win in two games - but Pardew is not prepared to take any liberties.

"I've got to say that my main focus is Aston Villa this week, without a shadow of a doubt, because I want six points, and Aston Villa are going to strengthen between now and then," he said.

"They've got some senior players coming back.

"On my other hat, obviously the European campaign and the experience that I'll gain as a manager and the experience that the players will gain from that ... So yeah, it is a balancing act.

"Hopefully we'll get it right. I'm sure there'll be times when I need to adjust them team quickly to the strength of the opposition, and I've got plenty on the bench tomorrow if I need to use them."

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Wednesday 22 October

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
16 8 -3 8
17 8 -7 8
18 8 -6 7
19 8 -9 4
20 8 -12 4

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