Newcastle United’s Alan Pardew weighs up difficult balancing act

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NEWCASTLE manager Alan Pardew has admitted he faces a balancing act in a bid to avoid Europa League burnout next season, writes ROSS GREGORY.

Pardew guided the Magpies to a fifth-placed Premier League finish last season to qualify for the continental competition.

But he knows that he could be the victim of his own success when the demands of competing on both fronts starts taking a toll on his squad.

Stoke and Fulham endured a slide down the Premier League table as they tried to juggle their European commitments with domestic duties, and Pardew is fully aware of how gruelling a season his side could be in for.

Pardew said: “We have to get the balance right.

“We want to be strong in the Premier League and look at our Euro campaign.

“If you look at it, nobody who has played in the Europa League has been able to manage to do well in both.

“Stoke found that out last season, and Fulham the season before ended up with a poor finish.”

Pardew is looking to strengthen his squad this summer in preparation for the extra games, but knows that even with added numbers, replicating last season’s showing – where United came within a whisker of Champions League qualification – will be difficult.

And he has warned fans that they must be realistic in what they want the club to achieve. He added: “I think it is going to be tougher for us.

“Last season we fought against the odds and got some great results.

“We beat Chelsea, Manchester United, drew with Spurs and were very unlucky in both games against Arsenal.

“Next season will be very competitive again, and we have a European programme too. The top six would still be a great achievement for us, and we’ve got the cup competitions as well.

“Our fans have to be realistic – we don’t want the Europa League to cost us with our Premier League position.

“But we’re looking forward to taking them into Europe.”