Date: 18th February 2013 at 9:03am
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Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa impressed on his first start last week in the first leg of the round of 32 in the Europa league.

Admittedly, the right back position that he filled isn’t his preferred slot but the versatile defender will play anywhere to make sure his name is on the teamsheet and he can play in various other roles across the back, including midfield.

Alan Pardew was impressed enough with the display against Metalist Kharkiv that he has hinted that the same back five will be starting again in the Ukraine by telling the Newcastle Journal.

“I thought we defended superbly in the first leg on Thursday night, and repeating that is going to be the key over there.

“In the whole of the first game, I thought we only really gave up one clear chance, and Tim (Krul) was able to snuff that out pretty quickly in the first half.

“We were defensively sound all evening, and even though they tried to catch us on the break in numbers, we prevented them from doing that fairly well. The second game will be different, but defensively we`ll have to be just as good.

“I thought Steven Taylor and Colo in particular were terrific, and Mapou did a really good job on his first start. We`ll have to take that into the second leg.”


Mbiwa himself sees progression and has targeted winning the trophy to guarantee our participation in the competition next season by adding.

“I think this competition is important for the whole squad, we all want to advance and progress in Europe,” he said.

“We want to win the trophy because that way we will be able to play in Europe again next season.

“I think the squad is very competitive – it`s not just a strong first XI, but everyone who sits on the bench too. Everyone wants to win.”