ALAN Pardew admits that he expects “an edge” to tomorrow’s game against Manchester City with both sides struggling for results.
United have won one in 10 in all competitions, and a slump of five defeats in six in the Premier League has left them just two points above the relegation zone.
City, meanwhile, have won just one is six, and during that period have been dumped out of the Champions League and lost a Manchester derby.
Given the respective woes, Pardew is keen to place emphasis on tomorrow’s opening goal.
“They’re having a bit of a struggle this year for the team that they are,” the Magpies chief said.
“But we’re the same as them, and we’re still searching for our best form. Both teams will have an edge to them.
“The first goal will be very important for settling one team down.
“If we get it then it could push us on to get at them and get a second.
“We’ve talked about this, and the reaction to that first goal will be key.”
Pardew believes that City are not the force of last season, Roberto Mancini’s men enjoying a league double over the Geordies en route to the title.
Despite their apparent regression, however, the United boss knows their visitors will be favourites to take victory.
“They have far greater assets than us, and any bookie would make them favourites,” he went on.
“We will have to be at our maximum to win and probably need a little bit of luck as well.
“We were well beaten by a better team last year – but I don’t think they’re as good.
“You have to remember that they will be on edge for this game – they need a win.”