Newcastle will be a big scalp, warns Pardew

The Magpies manager has warned his players that they are representing what he believes is the best league in the world when they face Greek side Atromitos in the Europa League
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has warned his players that the Magpies will be a massive scalp for Greek outfit Atromitos should they suffer a surprise defeat at the Peristeri Stadium on Thursday.

The Magpies face the Greek side in Athens in the first-leg of their Europa League play-off, and Pardew has reminded his players they must produce a worthy performance when they represent what he believes is the strongest league in the world.

"We are a big scalp for this team, we are under no illusions about that," Pardew told reporters.

"We have the utmost respect for the club and for the manager, and also the people, who have welcomed us today in a really lovely manner.

"In the short time we have been here, we have been really warmly received, and I thank the people for that.

"But we must look upon ourselves as ambassadors for the Premier League. We believe it's the strongest league in Europe, and we need to replicate that in terms of the performance we put out."

The Newcaslte boss is in hot water with the FA after shoving an assistant referee in Saturday's 2-1 win against Tottenham, and his squad travelled to Greece without skipper Fabricio Coloccini, midfielder Chiekh Tiote and Demba Ba.

All three players are struggling with minor injuries ahead of Saturday's trip to Stamford Bridge and Pardew decided not to risk them ahead of what will be a stern test against Roberto Di Matteo's new-look Chelsea.

"We have brought everybody who is fit," he confirmed.

"The guys who have stayed behind are all injured, of which Demba Ba is one, Coloccini, Cheikh Tiote - but I think they will be playing on Saturday.

"We have still got three or four younger players who we would like to have brought, but unfortunately, they are injured too, so the senior group is all here.

"The problem for us is just the scheduling, really - not so much the competition - of this particular game because obviously we play Chelsea on Saturday and the heat and the elements here are going to make it difficult for us, so we have tried to factor in all that," Pardew added.

"And also to get a result, that's the most important thing, that Newcastle get a result tomorrow night.

"We are focusing very much on how we are going to win and hopefully we achieve that."