Manchester United vs Newcastle United preview: Alan Pardew targets rare Old Trafford win to halt Newcastle slump

The match kicks off on Boxing Day

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The Independent Football

Alan Pardew has told his struggling Newcastle players they must resurrect their season with a victory at Old Trafford today, a ground where they have won just once in the past 42 years.

Newcastle’s tempestuous campaign is now in a major slump, with just one victory from six games and a morale-crushing fourth successive defeat to rivals Sunderland.

Pardew is again fighting fires and he has called on the club’s board to use next month to strengthen a squad that needs a centre-forward and a central midfielder.

He cannot afford a repeat of last winter’s calamitous transfer window that saw Yohan Cabaye sold to Paris Saint-Germain for £16m, but there are ominous signs with Arsenal interested in midfielder Moussa Sissoko.

 

Pardew said: “We’ve got Man United now and we must try to get a win. Against the top teams we’ve done well: we’re ninth in the division and we’re not far away from the top.

“West Ham away was tough, Arsenal we know is tough, Tottenham, with the injuries we had, was tough and against Sunderland we’ve lost a game we really wanted to win. Maybe we’ve tried too hard to win it.

“If we get a win at Man United, it’s Everton and Burnley at home and it could put us in a great position, so it’s all to play for. I do think this team is stable – it’s a strong, middle of the Premier League team and we need to be better than that if we can.

“This January is important. It’s important that big players come back to us – and we do some business,” he added.

Pardew has conceded that Manchester United are a very different proposition to the one his side beat at Old Trafford last season. Then, with Cabaye the heartbeat of his team, Newcastle’s 1-0 win took them to within three points of a Champions League spot.

“You can sense a difference between last year and this year because there’s security at Manchester United,” he said. “Last year there didn’t seem that security around David [Moyes] but they’ve definitely got it this year.

“I think the board has made a statement that [Louis] Van Gaal’s the man and he’s made it very clear he’s their man, too. Put that together and they’ve got a great base for those great players, those great strikers . Three years ago we got a draw at Old Trafford, two years ago it was 4-3 and it was a hell of a game. Last year we won. The big reason we’ve done well at Old Trafford is that we retained the ball. We had an equal share of possession.

“If this Manchester United side get to 60 per cent of possession, you’ve got no chance of winning the game because of the players they’ve got.

“I’ve had some really good days, fortunately. I wouldn’t like to put them in order but winning there last season is up there for sure.”

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