ALAN Pardew has challenged his Newcastle United side to give Manuel Pellegrini a baptism of fire in the Premier League.
The club kicks off its season at the City of Manchester Stadium on Monday night.
It will be new Manchester City manager Pellegrini’s first game in English football after his summer move from Malaga.
And Pardew senses an opportunity for Newcastle, who have never won a game at Eastlands.
United were beaten 4-0 at the stadium last season, but with City looking suspect defensively – they have lost Matija Nastasic to injury – he is confident there could be a more positive outcome this season.
“We’ve lost to Man City twice in the years I’ve been here, we need to change that,” said Pardew.
“The last two times we’ve been there under me, we’ve been well beaten.
“There’s been a bit of a gap, so now under the new manager, we hope to change that.
“They’ve got two or three new faces, but I’m pretty confident.
“I know the team they will play, and know what we’ll have, obviously.”
While striker Carlos Tevez – who has tormented United in recent seasons – has left City this summer, the club has spent £90m on attacking talent.
Despite Pellegrini’s formidable resources – and Newcastle’s lack of summer signings – Pardew is optimistic ahead of the game.
“The good way to approach the Man City game is to treat it like a bonus,” he said.
“The table will read like we have lost on Saturday, because we haven’t played.
“Therefore if we take a point or three, we can take that into the West Ham and Fulham games.
“This is a real opportunity for us. I’m looking for a strong performance.”
Pardew will be without loan signing Loic Remy, though midfielder Jonas Gutierrez – who suffered a leg injury in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Braga – has a chance of featuring against City.
Pellegrini – whose team lost 3-1 to Arsenal in Helsinki last weekend – is looking to sign a defender, having admitted his back four needs “fixing”.
But the reinforcement will come too late for Newcastle’s visit.
“We’ll see next week if I can bring in the player I need,” Pellegrini.
“We have conceded too many goals, and we will have to find ways to fix that.”