ALAN Pardew has a simple message for his players ahead of Manchester City’s visit to St James’s Park: Don’t shoot yourselves in the foot!
United have lost 12 of the last 13 meetings between the two clubs in all competitions.
And Pardew watched Manuel Pellegrini’s side beat his former club West Ham United 6-0 in Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg at the Etihad Stadium.
He feels his team can learn from that game, which left embattled Sam Allardyce fighting to keep his job ahead of Newcastle’s visit to Upton Park a week today.
“You see things that always help in games, whether it’s negative or positive,” Pardew told SportMail.
“There were some things that went on in the game that we must not replicate.
“There were times where West Ham shot themselves in the foot – we can’t afford to do that.”
Pellegrini, arguably, has the best squad in the Premier League at his disposal. City spent heavily last summer on a clutch of attack-minded players, notably Alvaro Negredo – who scored a hat-trick against West Ham to take his goal tally for the season to 18 – and Jesus Navas.
And fighting fire with fire isn’t an option for United, who Pardew feels must be clever in their approach if they are to record their first win over City since September 2005.
But the key, for Pardew, is not to give the ball away cheaply against a team which has an abundance of pace and power.
“You have to say the core of that team – (Joe) Hart, (Vincent) Kompany, (Yaya) Toure and Negredo – is the best spine of any team in the Premier League,” said Pardew.
“We have to cope with that. Yaya Toure, in full flow, is very difficult to stop. Having said that, so is Loic Remy when the ball’s at his feet, and Yohan (Cabaye) when he’s looking for a pass.
“There are some things you can’t control, and there are some things that you can control.
“What we mustn’t do is keep giving them the ball. Ultimately, we’d get beaten.”
Newcaslte have beaten Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur so far this season.
And Pardew would love his eighth-placed team to claim the scalp of City.
“Possession is going to be important,” he said.
“We’ve done that well against the top teams.
“It was pretty even against Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea.
“Spurs was probably the only one we’ve won where possession wasn’t even, and that was only in one half. Against Man City you can’t afford to have a half like that.
“We have to have an intelligence about how we take them on.”
– MILES STARFORTH