Alan Pardew ready to match Sir Alex Ferguson

 

Alan Pardew has warned Sir Alex Ferguson there will be two angry managers in the dug-outs when Newcastle head for Manchester United on Boxing Day.

The Scot was apoplectic after yesterday's 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw at Swansea which saw the leaders drop two precious points, but also striker Robin van Persie react furiously after being struck in the back of the head by the ball when defender Ashley Williams blasted it into him as he lay on the ground.

Ferguson later voiced the opinion that the Dutchman could have been killed in the incident and called for retrospective action to be taken, and he was not placated by Williams' insistence that it had been accidental.

All in all, he was not a happy man as he left South Wales, but Pardew has admitted he is still smarting too despite ending a run of six league defeats in seven attempts with a 1-0 win over QPR on Saturday.

He said: "I'm not happy either. Although we have won, the away form hasn't been great, so there will be two teams with a little bit to prove, two managers smarting a little bit with their teams.

"It will make for a really professional game. Sometimes on Boxing Day, you can get a loose game - I don't think this will be."

The Van Persie incident understandably made headlines, although Pardew believes Ferguson's outspoken comments were made in the heat of the moment.

He said: "Retrospective action is important because as we saw with [Everton's Marouane] Fellaini the other day at Stoke, children shouldn't be seeing incidents like that on TV.

"I think the one with Van Persie was perhaps not as bad as Alex at first imagined. Sometimes from the sideline, it looks a lot worse at the time.

"I'm not sure whether there will be action taken for that, but certainly elbows and off-the-ball incidents, that's a good feature that the FA have brought in."

United were far from at their best at the Liberty Stadium with strikers Van Persie and Wayne Rooney suffering a rare off-day, and Pardew is wary of the potential response.

He said: "I remember [Fulham striker Dimitar] Berbatov not playing particularly well the week before we played him, and he probably put in the performance of the season for him against us.

"It happens. You want to roll into teams when they have off-days, that does help.

"Swansea, I think, did that, Manchester United did have an off-day and fortunately for them, they got a point out of it.

"What we have got to do is try to make it another off-day by making it equally difficult for them to play."

The win over QPR eased the Magpies' immediate fears of being dragged into the relegation zone, but with a trip to Arsenal to follow their date at Old Trafford - where they have not won in the league since February, 1972 - and Everton's New Year visit to St James' Park, they know they will have to be much closer to their best to build on a valuable three points.

Pardew said: "When you looked at the programme at the start, you could see that this was a tough run for us, and it's even tougher now with the results we have had and the injuries we have sustained.

"But I am actually going into it more buoyed than I have been at probably any other period of the season.

"We have definitely picked up, we look a little bit more resilient. We got a very important clean sheet on Saturday and I think we will be in good heart for what is one of the toughest games of the programme, Manchester United away."

Pardew, who will be without the suspended Cheick Tiote, also confirmed that Saturday's match-winner Shola Ameobi will not be joining the Ivorian at the African Nations Cup next month despite being named in the provisional Nigeria squad.

He said: "Shola won't be going to that, and the national team manager knows the reasons behind that, which I am going to keep to myself."

PA

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