Pardew Praise For Benfica Sparks Surprise Backlash
In an interesting sideshow to tonight’s match against Benfica, Alan Pardew managed to annoy our hosts when praising them!
At his pre-match press conference, Newcastle United’s manager had this to say;
“Looking at the quality of them (Benfica) and the fact that they are a Champions League team this year, plus they are already confirmed for (Champions League) next year. You have to say they would certainly be a top eight or ten team in the Premier League.”
While Benfica’s manager, Jorge Jesus, calmly pointed to their recent European record which includes knocking out the likes of Manchester United and Everton, the Portuguese press and fans have really taken Pardew’s comments to heart.
There seems little doubt that our manager’s comments were genuine but you can see why the Portuguese could have taken them as patronising at best.
With Benfica going almost a year unbeaten in their domestic league, it will have been seen as a slur not just on our opposition but on the whole of Portuguese football, with Benfica as the current flag bearers.
If Pardew had said top four rather than top eight/ten then no doubt they’d have loved it but with the current standard of Benfica’s team and their proud history, saying they are on a par with West Brom, Swansea and Fulham (currently in 8th to 10th in Premier League) understandably didn’t go down well. Incidentally no disrespect to those three teams!
With the abject failure of English clubs in the Champions League this season, it definitely isn’t the best time to be bigging up English football.
As for how the neutral bookies see tonight’s match, just have a look below at the odds you can get tonight on Newcastle. That shows how big a challenge we have but at the same time United’s players have shown great character in Europe and can do so again tonight.
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