FABRICIO Coloccini is adamant that Newcastle United’s 4-0 drubbing at Wigan is not going to derail their Champions League push, writes MARK SMITH.
The Magpies travel to Chelsea on Wednesday in a game key to their ambitions of rejoining the European elite, with the skipper confident that Saturday’s North West rout was little more than a flesh wound.
“Yes, it was disappointing,” said Coloccini, whose slip inside the penalty area allowed Victor Moses to poke home the second of his two early goals.
“We played badly, but all we can do now is think about the next game and make sure we take points from it. Arsenal only drew, so we’ll see. We have to show some patience, and it’s a big game at Chelsea now.”
The Blues have Saturday’s FA Cup final as well as the Champions League final to distract attention, but for Coloccini and his Newcastle team-mates their focus is crystal clear.
“It’s like a dream for us, and we still have a chance to fight for it,” said the centre-back, when asked about the prospect of his side returning to Europe’s top tier. “We know we have to get something at Chelsea. We know the Europa League place is already in the bag, so we can push for a top-four finish. Maybe if we play Europa League the young players can get a taste for it, but we want to finish in the top four.”
The open-ness with which Newcastle’s players and their manager are prepared to confront the Champions League issue is a testament to the success of their season, even if Wigan’s first-half blitz on Saturday provided a painful speed-bump along the way.
“They played really well,” admitted Coloccini, who along with Mike Williamson was pulled from pillar to post by a quicksilver home attack.
“It was a tough game. We just have to keep going – we can still do well at Chelsea. We’re having a great season so our confidence is still high.”
Revealing manager Alan Pardew’s post-match reaction, the skipper added: “He was disappointed. We have two days to have a look at where we went wrong, then try to get ready for the next game.”
“We have to carry on and get as many points as we can and see where it leaves us.”