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The current Magpies coach cites a less talented squad of that available to the late club legend for the grounds of his claim, calling the possible feat as 'astonishing'

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew believes securing Champions League football for next season would be an even bigger achievement than Sir Bobby Robson’s continental qualifications 10 years ago.

The Magpies were regular European contenders over a decade ago but a slow decline since Robson’s departure resulted in relegation from the top flight three years ago.

Pardew’s installation as manager in December 2010 was widely derided by the Newcastle support, but it has reaped rewards for the North East side, who will almost certainly have European football on Tyneside next season.

Pardew told reporters on Friday: “You are going from a different set of circumstances there, with all due respect to Sir Bobby Robson.

“He had some fantastic players and players who were Premier League icons. We have got a lot of new players who are making a little niche for themselves.

“It's a different kind of scenario. I am not under-estimating that achievement but if we get in there, it would be astonishing.”

Pardew has become an immediate candidate for Manager of the Year for keeping the Magpies to such heady heights all season.

The former West Ham United boss stated that if the club qualify for the Champions League: “Of course, it would be far and away the most significant thing I have done as a manager.”

With Europa League a less optimistic expectation now amongst Newcastle fans, questions on how big the club’s summer’s transfer budget will be have unsurprisingly arose.

“It's very difficult with where we are,” Pardew admitted. “We are guessing we won't be in the Champions League and we are working to that budget really.

“But there is a Champions League budget if we feel we are going to threaten it with maybe two games to go.”

Ahead of their match against Stoke City on Saturday, Pardew revealed why he thinks the club’s transfer policy has thrived in the past few of windows.

“One of the good things is players want to come here,” the coach said.

“The environment is great, the team is very, very strong and I would like to think the players would be cared for and looked after.

“If I was an agent and I had a top young player, I would want to put him here.”

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