Alan Pardew is optimistic that his Newcastle side can cause upset against Manchester City in their Premier League opener on Monday.
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The Magpies being their campaign with the unenviable trip to Manchester in what will be Manuel Pellegrini’s first game in charge of City.
Having suffered heavy defeats against them in recent seasons, Pardew is aiming to begin the season with a strong performance and banish the Magpies’ poor recent record at Eastlands.
“I know the team they will play and know what we’ll have obviously,” he told the Chronicle. “They’ve got two or three new faces. But I’m pretty confident. I’m looking for a strong performance.
“We’ve lost to Man City twice in the years I’ve been here, we need to change that. The last two times we’ve been there under me, we’ve been well beaten and there’s been a bit of a gap. So now under the new manager we hope to change that.
“The good way to approach it is to treat it like a bonus [that we play on Monday]. The table will read like we have lost on Saturday because we haven’t played. Therefore if we take a point or three we can take that into the West Ham and Fulham games.”
Back after an arduous second season in charge of the Magpies that saw them only narrowly avoid relegation, Pardew is keen to restore the positive atmosphere he cultivated during his first year with the club.
Believing his side can return to the form that saw them finish 5th in the Premier League under his guidance in 2011-12, his message remains simple: stay positive.
“We want to get people coming to the stadium and looking forward to the game -- and not coming here and just hoping,” he said. “We’ve got that support at St James’ Park and the agenda away from home will be to improve as well. We want to be getting five or six away wins and improving that way.
“The message to the fans is stay positive. I think we can be a powerhouse offensively. And while that dropped last year a little, I think we can get it back again. There’s a long, long season ahead and there’s still work to do in the transfer market as well. Remy is here and when he is fit we will have some nice options.”