Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew believes the pressure of the Europa League has had an adverse effect on his side's form in the Premier League.
The Magpies currently sit top of Group D, unbeaten after four games, knowing three points against Maritimo will confirm their progression to the knockout stages.
However, results domestically have taken a recent downturn, with back-to-back home losses for the first time since 2010, and Pardew has admitted the heavy European schedule is finally taking its toll in his squad.
"I think it is harder for us. I genuinely do," he told reporters.
"The four Champions League teams have the finance to attack that with two squads, whereas we are attacking a competition which has much more games, a heavier schedule and a more difficult night in Thursday night, and a much reduced squad.
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The 51-year-old pointed to the fellow English teams competing in the Europa League, Liverpool and Tottenham, and their similarly faltering Premier League campaigns as further evidence of the detrimental effect the competition can even have on a club financially superior.
He added: "You only have to look at the other two English clubs in the competition. We’re all having very similar seasons at the moment and they are stronger clubs than us financially so it just goes to show that it does make a big impact on your Premier League situation."