David Moyes backed to succeed at Manchester United by Newcastle boss Alan Pardew

There are concerns at Old Trafford following last night's defeat to Everton

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has backed Manchester United counterpart David Moyes to get it right as he attempts to fill Sir Alex Ferguson's sizable shoes.

The two men will go head to head at Old Trafford on Saturday with the Magpies sitting in seventh place in the Barclays Premier League table, a point better off than the reigning champions in ninth.

United are 12 points adrift of current leaders Arsenal after 14 games after Wednesday night's 1-0 home defeat by Everton, and Moyes' critics are growing more vociferous by the day.

However, Pardew believes the Scot took on a huge challenge when he succeeded Ferguson during the summer and is convinced he has what it will take to forge an improvement in the club's on-field fortunes.

He said: "I think everybody knew that the first person to follow Alex, it was going to be very, very difficult.

"But he's a strong man and I think he can handle it, and there's a long, long way to go.

"I think they had gone 12 games unbeaten up until that game, so it's not as if there's a crisis there.

"They have lost a game, which as I say, anybody can do in the Premier League at the moment.

"Their reaction is going to be a little bit larger than ours, so there's going to be a little bit of pressure on them and we have got to try to capitalise on that and make it difficult for them.

"If we can do that and get into the last period of the game, we could try to reverse a statistic that isn't very good of Newcastle winning at Manchester United."

The Magpies have not won at Old Trafford since February 1972 - although they came mightily close to doing so last season when they led 3-2 with 22 minutes to play, only to succumb to late goals from Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez.

However, they will have to perform significantly better than they did at Swansea on Wednesday evening if they are to end their wait this time around.

Pardew's men headed for the Liberty Stadium with four successive league victories under their belts and confident they could collect a fifth to give them the perfect platform for Saturday's difficult assignment.

However, having lost Hatem Ben Arfa to illness and Papiss Cisse to injury, they turned in a sub-standard first-half performance and then at 1-0 down, were denied what the believed was a certain penalty as they eventually slipped to a 3-0 defeat.

Pardew, who then had to endure an eventful journey back to Tyneside amid gale-force winds, said: "It was a funny night for us all round, really. Nothing really worked for us.

"We lost Hatem to illness and Papiss to injury, and the penalty decision and the way the game unfolded, and then we had a really hairy flight, so it wasn't a trip to remember.

"But at least we are all safe, that's the main thing.

"Everybody can see in the Premier League, it is very, very difficult.

"I think only Arsenal have bettered our run - I think they got five wins - and it just goes to show you how difficult the Premier League is this year.

"Swansea - I can moan about the penalty decision, which I think should have been given - but they were terrific and I think any team would have had a problem with them last night.

"That's what the Premier League is like, every game is very, very difficult."

Ben Arfa reported for training on Thursday, but Cisse will be assessed on Friday as he continues his recovery from a heel problem.

PA

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