By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor
Manchester City will be one of the favourites for the Barclays Premier League title, Alan Pardew admits, but the Newcastle boss believes his side can claim a positive result at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.
Last season's runners-up have had a change of manager and made some big-money buys during the summer so the Magpies could barely have asked for a tougher fixture to begin their campaign.
But United lost just once in pre-season and Pardew insists his team is good enough to go toe-to-toe with the Blues in front of a sell-out crowd and millions watching across the globe.
He said: "I think we're in good shape and for us, with the game being on Monday night, it's a psychological game for us in terms of putting ourselves in the mind of everybody with a really strong performance - and hopefully get some points out of what is obviously a tough game.
"They've again invested heavily, Manchester City. They're obviously going to be one of the contenders for the title so it's a tough game for us but we're more than ready for it.
"The ideal scenario is to get a result of any kind and I think we've got the players to do it. We carry some fabulous players - (Yohan) Cabaye, (Fabricio) Coloccini, Papiss Cisse - so we've got an opportunity and hopefully we can take it."
Manuel Pellegrini has replaced Roberto Mancini and, with a new man at the helm, Pardew knows that it could take time for his ideas to be fully implemented - but he's not expecting too much to change in terms of the Citizens' philosophy.
"I think his style is not too different to Mancini's but I think there is an emphasis that they're going to be a little bit more forward-thinking, put a little bit more pressure on us maybe when we've got the ball, so it'll be interesting to see how honed that is in the first game," Pardew said.
"But if they're going to play a high press against us then we need to take care of the ball.
"There's always that special feeling when the Premier League is kicking off. It's the best division of football in the world in my opinion so to be part of it and have a strong team like we've got is very exciting.
"The only injury that's really affecting affecting us for Monday night is (Loic) Remy who we brought into the Club with a calf injury, but he's getting some work that should get him back on the training ground next week, hopefully. Other than we're at a good level of preparation in terms of our first game."