Pardew: Plastic pitch will favour 'technical' Newcastle players

The Magpies boss feels the surface for his side's upcoming Europa League clash against Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala will require a slightly more cultured approach
Alan Pardew admits the plastic pitch his team are due to play Anzhi Makhachkala on this Thursday will affect his team selection.

The Europa League last-16 tie cannot take place at Anzhi’s own home stadium in Dagestan due to continuing armed conflict in the region, so the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow will host the match.

And Pardew has revealed the artificial surface, which uses FieldTurf technology, will present a challenge to the Magpies and encourage him to field a more "technical team".

“We want to win the game, so I’ll play the strongest team I can for that game,” Pardew told the Sunderland Echo.

"It’s a different surface, and it’s going to favour some of our technical players. It’ll be a very technical team that I put out."

Newcastle beat Ukranian side Metalist Kharkiv in the last round, with a Shola Ameobi penalty in the second leg earning his side a 1-0 aggregate victory, but Anzhi will likely present a considerably tougher task.

Boasting star names such as Samuel Eto’o and £30 million Brazilian Willian, as well as the highly experienced Guss Hiddink as coach, the Russian outfit are favourites to qualify for the next round.

Pardew is aware of the challenge he faces and feels most of the remaining sides have put the Europa League high on their list of priorities.

“It would be massive if we could beat this team, because they’re a really strong side,” he added.

“It’s really now down to where every team left in that Europa League now is focusing on it probably as their primary objective.

“I can’t think of too many clubs in it for whom it’s not at the top of their agenda now.”