Never mind United, you've still got us to beat, Pardew tells Man City
22:00 GMT, 24 March 2012
Alan Pardew has waded into Manchester’s mind-games squabble by warning City fans that beating United in their derby clash next month will not necessarily land their team the title.
‘People talk about City playing Manchester United as being a title decider, but they’ve got a tough game after because they’ve got to come to our place. As much as the United game could be a title decider, that game with us could, too,’ said the Newcastle United manager.
‘On any given day, with our best team, we’re as good as the top teams, especially at home. Away you need to have that experience of a few campaigns. Our form suggests that. We’re fighting to find the formula to win away, but not at home.’
Bullish: Alan Pardew fancies Newcastle's chances against Man City
Newcastle, who travel to West Bromwich on Sunday, are battling to hold on to sixth place in the table and although Pardew admitted his team have not been ‘firing on all cylinders’, he says he has detected a new buoyancy following the 1-0 win over Norwich.
‘We needed a win and I do think we’ll play better than we did against Norwich,’ he said.
‘I’m convinced of that. We’ve still got to get a result against a team who are very formidable at home. I do feel in better shape this week than I’ve done for a long time.’
For all their big-money signings, which have included former 35million Newcastle striker Andy Carroll, Liverpool are still trailing Pardew’s men and the Newcastle boss feels it would be a magnificent achievement to finish above Kenny Dalglish’s side.
But he warned: ‘If they can turn us over [at Newcastle next week] suddenly they’re a point above us with seven games to go. We can’t take our eye off where we are.’
In demand: Newcastle striker Demba Ba (left)
Pardew has also appealed to the Toon Army to demonstrate to Demba Ba that they want him to stay.
Newcastle’s top scorer, who has a 7m get-out clause in his contract, has been targeted by other Premier League clubs, but Pardew said: ‘Demba’s made it quite clear he loves it here. If you know Demba, you know he’s an emotional person. It isn’t all about money for Demba. The fans can play a big part in keeping him and it would nice for them to show they want him to stay.’
Meanwhile, Pardew has also backed Albion boss Roy Hodgson to become a contender for the vacant England job.
‘Roy has all the qualifications,’ he said. ‘In some ways he has more experience than Harry [Redknapp].
‘Nothing would give me more pleasure than seeing Harry or Roy as England manager above the Capellos, Mourinhos and anybody else.’