Joe Kinnear aims to get Newcastle into the Champions League

Kinnear wants to help Newcastle reach the Champions League. Photo: PA

Newcastle director of football Joe Kinnear is targeting a return to Champions League football for the north east club.

Kinnear, who was brought in at St James' Park last month by owner Mike Ashley, believes a realistic long-term ambition for Alan Pardew's side is qualifying for Europe's elite club competition, despite the Magpies narrowly avoiding relegation last season.

"I have worked at the club before and I know what Newcastle means to the fans," Kinnear told the Sunday Mirror.

"Last season was a disappointing one but the simple truth was that the squad just wasn't strong enough.

"The Europa League also took its toll because of injuries and that was felt in the league. My job is simple - to bring in quality players who will give the manager more options.

"What I see in the long term is help to put together a squad to get this club back into the Champions League."

Kinnear, who was manager at Newcastle three-and-a-half years ago, believes the foundation of a team that will excel in Europe is in place, but more talent is still needed.

"We have some talented young players at Newcastle and if there was one benefit from the Europa League, it was that Alan was able to give valuable first-team experience to those players," Kinnear added.

"Like Moussa Sissoko, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye. All excellent. And we have Sammy Ameobi, Shola's brother. I have spoken with Fabricio Coloccini and I am confident he is staying and Steven Taylor - well, he is a rock.

"We just need to bring in more talent."