Pardew relishes Newcastle's 'top of the table' encounter

 

Just a glance at the football form table for 2012 shows why Sir Alex Ferguson has not given up hope of taking a 13th Premier League title with Manchester United.

The resurgence of Newcastle, with seven wins from their last eight games, has yielded them only three points less than the tally of Manchester City, their opponents in tomorrow's crucial match, since the turn of the year: 35 to City's 38.

If Ferguson understands the significance of that, the Newcastle manager Alan Pardew revels in it. Newcastle were unbeaten when they went to the Etihad in November and lost 3-1. Then, as Pardew admitted yesterday, there was a lack of belief in his players that they could stand toe to toe with such a big club. That is certainly no longer the case.

"Forget about individuals, look at the two teams – our team is going to compete with them. I can't pay any greater respect to my side," said Pardew. "They deserve that respect because they have earned it. That's not about me, or Papiss Cissé, but the team. We have got 35 points this year, City have got 38. We have the advantage [tomorrow] because we are at home, and our fans make a huge difference to us.

"I would say we have closed that gap [on City], even though in November we were up-beat. Looking from the sidelines then I still felt there was an extra element to their game. Looking at us against Chelsea and Liverpool, I think we have closed that gap.

"This club has come on in leaps and bounds in the last two years. It has been a meteoric rise in form and credibility. We have created a situation where next year is going to be problematic for us. We need to make sure, when this season ends, [to work out] where we went wrong and where we went right. We have to correct the bad things and recognise the good ones, and keep doing them to improve because next year will be a difficult season for us.

"I look at it closely and we have taken points off Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal, and Manchester United. Man City are the only ones we have not. Now, if you look at that, you would have to say, maybe they can, looking at that record. We haven't yet. So on Sunday it is there for us to take points off all the top teams and that would be a great feat for this team. And I think we can do it.

"I would suggest there is a little bit more pressure on them, being as they are away from home and going for the title."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea