Metalist boss warns his men not to underestimate Newcastle

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METALIST Kharkiv coach Myron Markevich has warned his team to underestimate Newcastle United at their peril.

The two sides face each other tomorrow night in the second-leg of a Europa Round of 32 tie.

With the first-leg at St James’s Park last week having ended goalless, the tie, to be played in front of a sell-out 40,000 crowd at the Metalist Stadium, is finely-balanced.

Asked if Newcastle’s hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the competition had been hit by their failure to take a goal advantage to the Ukraine, Markevich said: “No, I don’t.

“I think it’s level. Our chances to win are equal and our chances to go through are equal.

“As I said after the first game, Newcastle are a very good team, and they shouldn’t be in the (Premier League) position they are in. They should be in the top 10, minimum.

“We had a hard game in England, when we felt we lacked game practice, but everything will be decided tomorrow evening.

“The mood is great, the same as it was in England. Newcastle are a very good team. They are coming here with a full squad and we will see what happens.

“It will be a great atmosphere. It will be like in England because English fans also know their football and also know how to support.

“Our fans support very well and are very passionate, and I think tomorrow you will like the game very much.””

The Ukrainian league has been on a winter break since late November, and Markevich believes his side will be better for their run out on Tyneside last Thursday.

He added: “You all know that Metalist can play better, and we hope we will.”

Markevich won’t second-guess the approach his United counter-part, Alan Pardew, will take in the game.

“It’s hard for me to say - it’s more a question for the opposition coach,” he said. “Newcastle will play as we allow them, and we will play as they allow us.

“It depends on the opponent, but usually we choose an offensive style of game and we will try to do that.”