Fourth is still ours! Coloccini defiant in defeat as Newcastle chase 'dream' finish
21:30 GMT, 29 April 2012
Newcastle's stunning collapse at Wigan was just about the worst possible preparation for a trip to Chelsea on Wednesday, but captain Fabricio Coloccini insists they have not given up on their Champions League ‘dream’.
With Tottenham and Chelsea both winning yesterday, hopes of a top-four finish are fading for Newcastle after their run of six straight victories was ended by a Wigan side who once again belied their status as relegation strugglers by scoring four goals before half-time.
Alan Pardew’s side go to Stamford Bridge knowing that, even if they finish fourth, success for Chelsea in the Champions League Final on May 19 could deny them the chance to join Europe’s elite next season.
We can do it: Fabricio Coloccini still believes
Newcastle end what has been an outstanding campaign with difficult games against Manchester City and Everton, but Coloccini believes a Champions League place is still within their grasp.
‘It’s like a dream for us, we still have a chance to fight for it,’ said the Argentina defender.
‘Yes it was disappointing and we played badly against Wigan. We have two days to have a look at where we went wrong here then try to get ready for the next game.
‘It’s a big game at Chelsea now. All we can do is make sure we take points from it.
‘We have a really difficult final three games but we just have to keep going. We’re having a great season so our confidence is still high. 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.’
Victor Moses scored twice in the space
of three minutes at the DW Stadium before fine goals from Shaun
Maloney and Franco Di Santo gave Wigan another big scalp following
recent wins over Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Rout: Wigan walloped Newcastle
Having kept a clean sheet for 411 minutes, shell-shocked Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul had let in four in just over half an hour, and there was no way back even though Papiss Cisse twice hit the woodwork in the second half.
However, Pardew insists his players’ confidence remains intact ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge.
‘We’re still very much in it but we need to rebound on Wednesday,’ said the Newcastle manager. ‘We won’t go to Chelsea without confidence, I can assure you of that. I don’t think that’s a problem.
‘We’ve just got to make sure we are strong defensively and we stay in our roles and keep it tight because we score goals. For us it’s about the next three games now. This one’s gone and there’s nothing we can do about it.’
Pardew admitted that talk of a Champions League place may have got to his players.
‘Well it got talked about but I think there are about a million factors,’ he added. ‘Did it affect the players I don’t know but it is something that’s hanging over all the teams who are looking to finish fourth.
Faith: Coloccini says Newcastle will go to Chelsea with confidence
‘But I think it’s very important that we put this game in perspective. Wigan’s early goals really were the key.
‘We lost our way a bit in the last 20 minutes of the first half and that’s really unlike us. But when you’ve won six you think you’re going to get the game back. We chased it and that gave them the opportunity to get two more goals, and then the game really was gone.’
For Wigan, victory capped an extraordinary month that has seen Roberto Martinez’s side transformed against all the odds from near certainties to be relegated to a team three points clear of the danger zone.
With a visit to Blackburn and a home game against relegated Wolves in their final two matches, it now looks almost certain that Wigan will extend their stay in the Premier League into a seventh season. Martinez said: ‘In April, we had to deal with Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and now Newcastle.
’Forever the fans will look at this month and how we played against these sides, and I think it has been a turning point in our entire history.