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Red Devils boss shocked by Magpies' promotion...

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he is surprised to be facing Newcastle United so soon after their Premier League relegation.

The Magpies slipped out of the top flight at the end of the 2008-09 season. After being expected to implode under controversial owner Mike Ashley, Chris Hughton led them back up as Championship table toppers at the first attempt.

Speaking ahead of the match against the Magpies, Ferguson revealed his shock at the North East side's swift promotion ahead of their Monday night meeting.

He said: "I didn't expect Newcastle to come back so quickly.

"You could sense there was going to be an upheaval in terms of players leaving and they did sell quite a few.

"It is not easy to go down and come back at the first go. Very few teams have done that over the years.

"But you have to give Chris Hughton credit. He wasn't everyone's choice as manager but he dealt with all the financial constraints Newcastle had last season and still got all his players playing for him.

"And with their fanatical support, they had a big advantage."

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