Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has warned his players to expect a Manchester United backlash as they attempt to end their 39-year wait for a victory at Old Trafford.
The Magpies head into Saturday's trip to the north-west having not won at United since February 1972. They do so looking to bounce back from their first Premier League defeat of the season at leaders Manchester City last weekend, but acutely aware of what lies in wait for them with United trailing their arch-rivals in the table and still coming to terms with Tuesday night's disappointing 2-2 Champions League draw with Benfica.
Pardew has immense respect for Red Devils counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson, and knows he will have his players fired up to make an immediate response in an attempt to reel in City.
He said: ''He's clocking up all sorts of milestones. It's about time he walked away and gave someone else a chance. He has been brilliant. I know he will be smarting from Wednesday's draw, so unfortunately, we are on the back of a negative from Manchester United's point of view, so it will be a tough game for us.
''When the last game of the season comes around, I expect Manchester United to be playing for the title. He wouldn't have it any other way, the manager.''
With history so overwhelmingly against them, Newcastle could be forgiven for making the trip to Old Trafford without any great confidence of returning with a positive result. However, despite last week's reverse at the Etihad Stadium, Pardew is confident United will not have things all their own way, and that his team can return with something to show for their efforts.
He said: ''If you are going to old Trafford against the quality of player and the atmosphere that's created, of course you are going to find it very, very difficult. The odds are that you are not going to get many victories, and 1972 suggests that maybe we are due one.
''You need a bit of luck, sometimes the ball to roll your way or fortune to favour you. But you have got to force that. We have got to force them into a situation where they might make a mistake, or we have a forward running beyond and a player commits himself and they are down to 10 men.
''It's crucial when that chance comes along that we take it, because we aren't going to get many chances there.''
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