Newcastle's tumultuous summer will have no bearing on their fortunes in the Premier League, according to manager Alan Pardew.
The team's trip to Manchester City marks the end of an off-season dominated by behind-the-scenes upheaval, transfer woe and a high-profile sponsorship dispute. But Pardew has remained remarkably upbeat through all the issues, not least the controversial appointment of Joe Kinnear as the club's director of football.
Pardew said: "You can never read too much into pre-season – two years ago we lost to Leeds in our final pre-season game and were all over the place, but we went on to finish fifth. What I do know is the guys are fitter than they've ever been under my management and they're ready to go.
"Last year was difficult for us with the extra games but also the injury crisis. We will be better armed next time we go into Europe."
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