Tuesday 03 January 2012
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has warned his side that they will face a wounded Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League on Wednesday.
The defending champions lost their last match of 2011, a 3-2 home defeat against struggling Blackburn, leaving them second in the table behind rivals Manchester City.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has demanded a reaction from his players to the shock result, and Pardew - who saw his team draw 1-1 at Old Trafford in November - knows they will be determined to leave the Sports Direct Arena with all three points.
"Regardless of what happened to Manchester United, this was always going to be a difficult match"
- Alan Pardew
"They will be up for it, we know that," he said. "They lost to the bottom team and they will come to ours with a completely different side.
"This is a big match for our fans, and it is important for them that we put in a proper performance because we know, under the floodlights, that they will be roaring us on.
"Regardless of what happened to Manchester United at the weekend, this was always going to be a difficult match."
Newcastle also suffered defeat in their last fixture of the calendar year, a 3-1 loss at Liverpool, and Pardew is eyeing a change of fortune going into the new year.
"We feel we have not had any luck against the big teams," he added. "We are just a bit frustrated really.
"Against Chelsea, against Man City and against Liverpool it could all have been very different, so it is a bit frustrating.
"We have had a difficult run of matches and injuries and suspensions have not helped us, but we more or less have a full team back now."
Newcastle are seventh in the Barclays Premier League going into Wednesday's match against the team that pipped them to the 1995-96 title.