ALAN Pardew’s challenged Newcastle United to put a marker down for next season at the Etihad Stadium.
Pardew’s side face Premier League champions Manchester City tomorrow.
Roberto Mancini, the home side’s under-pressure manager, this week conceded the title race, with his second-placed team 15 points behind Manchester United.
Pardew believes both clubs will be stronger for their struggles this season.
In the meantime, Pardew’s determined that 13th-placed Newcastle take another stride towards Premier League safety at a stadium where the club has never recorded a win.
“That stadium’s a difficult place to get a result, but we’ve got the players to do it,” Pardew said.
“That’s what we believe, and that’s how we’ll approach the game. I just think there’s always a chance of winning.
“We were at Man United with 12 minutes to go, and were 3-2 up (Newcastle lost 4-3).
“And we didn’t have as good a side as we’re taking to Man City. So it’s always possible.”
Pardew insists he won’t be fooled by Mancini’s claim that the title is out of his team’s reach.
“Listen, they’ve got a formidable side,” added Pardew. “They’ve had an indifferent year. Some would say they’ve under-performed, but so have we.
“That’s what people say about us. We’ve both got our reasons. We’ll learn from it, and both be stronger clubs.
“It’s difficult to win the league and back it up. If you’re Man United, you’ve got experience. With that knowledge, it’s easier to do that. They’ll be better for it next year.
“We’ve still got to deal with (Carlos) Tevez, (Sergio) Ageuro, (David) Silva, (Vincent) Kompany and Yaya Toure. It’s difficult.
“He’s come out and said it’s over. I think that’s probably to take a bit of pressure off his team. They’ll want to get eight wins, and see where it they end up.
“That’s probably his plan. We won’t get fooled by that.”