Manchester United v Newcastle: Alan Pardew eyes result at Old Trafford
The Magpies have not won at Old Trafford since 1972
Friday 06 December 2013
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is determined not to leave Old Trafford wondering what might have been once again as he looks to inflict further misery on Manchester United.
On Saturday lunchtime, the Magpies will run out at a stadium which represented a fortress under Sir Alex Ferguson intent on inflicting a second successive Barclays Premier League defeat on the reigning champions on their own pitch following Everton's midweek triumph.
History is not on Newcastle's side - they last won at Old Trafford in February 1972 when Pardew was a 10-year-old schoolboy - but they came desperately close to ending that run last season.
They led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 on Boxing Day last year before Robin van Persie and, with just a minute remaining, Javier Hernandez snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and the now 52-year-old Magpies manager is hoping to go one better this time around to end a long wait.
Pardew said: "It's an incredible statistic - at least I can't be blamed for all of it.
"It's my third trip there and I have to say, I thought we were very close last year.
"We made a couple of errors late in the game that cost us a win there, and it's one of the really upsetting games from last year.
"I don't want that feeling walking out of there. Hopefully we can get a result."
Pardew will head for the dug-out to do battle with David Moyes for the first time since his switch from Everton to United, and will do so with his club sitting two places and one point better off than their ninth-placed opponents.
Moyes is currently grappling with the unenviable task of trying to fill the shoes vacated by Ferguson with mixed results to date, and both West Brom and Everton have already won at Old Trafford this season.
However, Pardew is not convinced the aura has deserted the famous stadium.
He said: "Well, I don't know about that. It's still a very daunting place to go. There's an aura about it.
"It is a great stadium to go and play and be lucky enough to be the manager and take a team there.
"It's still a very, very difficult place to win and we have got to raise our game to a new level to win there. But we are capable of doing that."
Newcastle's defeat at United last season came at the start of a run of games which included a 7-3 reverse at Arsenal and an FA Cup exit at Championship Brighton which set the alarm bells ringing in earnest.
Indeed, it prompted owner Mike Ashley to invest heavily in the January transfer window as Mathieu Debuchy, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran were drafted in to spark a recovery of sorts, albeit one which helped them to only just retain their top-flight status.
Of the men who started that day, only Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini are likely to do so this time, an illustration of the change Pardew's team has undergone since.
Newcastle's winning sequence was ended at the fifth time of asking at Swansea on Wednesday evening, and while that came as a blow, the manager is hopeful of a response.
He said: "We have good confidence even with the result on Wednesday night. I don't think that will dent it too much.
"We will go there and quite fancy ourselves - but that's easier said than done."
Meanwhile, Coloccini has played down speculation that he will once again seek a move back to Argentina during next month's transfer window.
Reports in South America, backed by quotes attributed to the 31-year-old, have suggested he still wants to leave because of the personal issues which fuelled a request to do so earlier this year.
However, the defender told the Shields Gazette: "The Press sometimes say things I said months ago, not now."
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