Pardew: Newcastle safe thanks to Stoke win
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew says his team's 2-1 win against Stoke City has confirmed their Premier League survival.
After an impressive league campaign last season, Newcastle have struggled through much of 2012/13, but the victory on Sunday moved them nine points clear of the relegation zone.
Pardew believes that cushion is enough to guarantee safety, and he is now focusing his efforts on Thursday, when his side host Anzhi Makhachkala in the second leg of the Europa League round of 16, with the tie in Moscow finishing goalless.
"That's (Premier League survival) done; we don't need to worry about that now," he told the BBC.
"What we've done is set ourselves up for what I'm hoping is going to be a special night for us.
"We've set the scene for that and I can't wait already. I hope we get as many people as we can afford to come fill the place up."
With both league and European priorities to balance, Pardew has been forced to rotate his squad frequently this season, but after the victory over Stoke, Pardew will now deploy his best side against Anzhi.
"We've approached it in an intelligent way," he said.
"In a way that we have dealt with the team as it comes, put a team out that is good enough, and we've had to do that. We've had so many injuries that we had to put out the team that we had.
"There are too many games, but now we're at the nitty gritty - the real serious business, playing against real quality.
"I'll play my best team - that win (against Stoke) has helped me do that."