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The Magpies struggled against relegation all season despite battling for a Champions League spot the previous campaign, and the manager has vowed to improve next term

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes his team's run in the Europa League severely damaged their domestic form after finishing 16th in the Premier League table.

After a fifth-placed standing last term, the Magpies have struggled for form all term - securing their safety from relegation after the penultimate game of the season.

Newcastle reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League before defeat to eventual runners-up Benfica and Pardew, despite five additions in January, feels the size of his squad struggled to cope with regularly fighting on two fronts.

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"We know we should have done better," Pardew told reporters. "It is obvious the Europa League campaign, playing Thursday, Sunday, really hurt us in terms of energy. It was the depth and quality we needed to improve on.

"Next year we don’t have that pressure and we go week to week. We have a couple of issues to sort out, not major, and a couple of players to add to give us a different look."

Newcastle's struggles this term prompted speculation over Pardew's position at St James' Park, but the manager, who penned an eight-year deal in September, dismissed talk of a possible departure.

He replied: "I am pretty confident I will be the manager here. I will speak to [owner] Mike Ashley and [managing director] Derek Llambias to make sure we get a response and a reaction.

"The support we have had here, after the season we have had, is remarkable. We owe them a debt next year to serve up a better standard of football in quality and results."

Sunday's loss to Arsenal also marked the final game for Steve Harper before retiring, the goalkeeper being the club's longest-serving player with 19 seasons of service under his belt.

Harper described the emotion of the game, admitting he initially struggled to concentrate on the match action.

"I was wobbling a bit in the 37th minute. It got to me," he said. "Then Podolski smashed the ball in my family allowance and snapped me out of it!

"I also saw my dad, hard as nails ex-miner in the tunnel before the game with my kids and he wobbling a bit, and that set me off a bit too!

"I will miss the intensity of this club. It is the city. It is a heavy shirt to wear, an amazing club to play for - if you can handle it."

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