By Tom Easterby
Alan Pardew has called for a much-improved performance from his team as they prepare to face Manchester United at St. James' Park on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
The Magpies' boss, who will serve the second game of his four-match touchline ban at the weekend, has warned that a repeat of the performance that saw United trounced 4-0 at Southampton last time out will not be tolerated.
"We're all very much aware of the performance at Southampton not being good enough for this Club, and we'll do our very best this Saturday to put a performance in that is worthy," he asserted.
With the Red Devils having held Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in midweek, many will see the visitors as favourites for the Barclays Premier League clash - a sentiment that Pardew shares.
"It's difficult, because Manchester United have had a little upsurge, particularly with the result against Munich where they were terrific, and they'll bring that bounce and that step to our place," he said.
"Obviously we're off the back of a really poor result and performance, so you have to say that everything points to them to win this game, and it's up to us to make sure that we can turn that round."
United sealed their first win in the red half of Manchester in 42 years back in December, in a game which Pardew says was one of their best performances of the season.
And the boss is acutely aware of the threats posed by the team who currently lie seven points and two places above Newcastle in the table.
"I think when we beat Chelsea when they were in full flow it was a great result as well, but in terms of a collective performance, maybe, yeah," he said of the victory at Old Trafford, which came courtesy of a second-half Yohan Cabaye goal.
"They're the champions, and sometimes a change of manager disrupts that and whatever, but they've still got great quality players as they showed against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night."
"The injuries have made us weaker, but what we must do as a squad is try and get a result in every way we can with the team we've got," he explained.
"The one thing we're armed with on Saturday, which is different to Southampton, is 52,000 Geordies shouting us home, and that makes a big, big difference."