Benfica boss warns stars over Newcastle

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BENFICA boss Jorge Jesus has warned his players to under-estimate Newcastle United at their peril.

Pardew’s side have been written off by the Portuguese media ahead of tomorrow night’s Europa League tie at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

One newspaper branded it “mission impossible” for United.

Primeira Liga leaders Benfica are unbeaten in 24 games, while relegation-threatened Newcastle have won away just twice this season in all competitions.

However, Jesus says the two clubs’ respective league positions won’t have a bearing on the outcome of the two-legged quarter-final.

“That won’t be important - the leagues are different,” said the hugely-experienced Jesus.

“Newcastle are a strong team. They have had 12 matches (in Europe), and only lost one.

“All teams that reach the quarter finals are more or less the same level. It’s going to be a good game.”

Earlier this afternoon, United manager Alan Pardew said he felt Benfica would finish between eighth and 10th in the Premier League when asked by Portuguese journalists how the club would fare in England.

Jesus said: “Benfica has always played in the Champions League.

“We have eliminated many English teams, one of them Manchester United.

“That speaks about the level Benfica play. We’ve been lifting Benfica’s name in Europe.”

Tim Krul’s Dutch countryman Ola John appeared with Jesus at his pre-match Press conference, and the striker is looking forward to facing his international team-mate.

“Newcastle are a very good team,” said John. “They are a very strong team, with physical players.

“We have the first game at home, so we want to score. It won’t be easy. They have very good players.

“Tim is a good goalkeeper. He has just come back from injury. I hope to score against him.”