Metalist boss predicts 'English-style' atmosphere

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METALIST Kharkiv head coach Myron Markevich has warned Newcastle United's players to expect an 'English-style atmosphere' during this evening's Europa League decider in the Metalist Stadium.

Having failed to gain an advantage from the first leg on Tyneside, the Magpies have travelled to Ukraine knowing they will almost certainly have to become only the third club to beat Metalist at their own ground this season.

To make Newcastle's task even more difficult, they will also have to overcome the atmosphere generated by a capacity crowd, with 38,000 tickets already having been sold for the 40,000-seater stadium.

Around 500 Newcastle fans have trekked across Europe to lend their support, and having been impressed by the atmosphere in St James' Park seven days ago, Markevich is expecting an even more feverish backdrop tonight.

“I am sure it will be a great atmosphere,” said the Metalist boss. “It will be just like an English game, and that is good for us.

“English supporters know all about good football and how to support their team, but our Kharkiv fans also support very well and very passionately. I am sure that will be in evidence and that can only help us in our task.”

Newcastle's failure to score on Tyneside has made Metalist strong favourites to progress to the last 16, but the Ukrainians are taking nothing for granted despite their resolute display in the first leg.

In the likes of Papiss Cisse, who had two goals controversially ruled out seven days ago, and Moussa Sissoko, who troubled the Kharkiv defence when he attempted to thread through balls from midfield, Newcastle possess players capable of making an attacking impact.

And while Alan Pardew's side remain in 16th position in the Premier League ahead of Sunday's home game with Southampton, Markevich is not putting too much stock in their domestic struggles.

“We had a hard game in England, and as I said after the first game, Newcastle are a very good team,” he said. “They shouldn't be in the place they currently have in the league – at the very minimum, they should be in the top ten.

“I don't think their best chance has gone. I think that our chances of winning are equal, and so are our chances of going through.

“It's hard to say what the game will be like because that depends on the opposition as well. But usually we like an offensive style of game and that is what we will be trying to do.”

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