Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has insisted he is relishing the prospect of taking on Premier League pacesetters Manchester City and champions Manchester United following his team’s 2-1 win over Everton.
Pardew was bullish about his chances of maintaining his club’s unbeaten start to the season, as he set his sights on trips to the Etihad Stadium and Old Trafford following the international break.
The 50-year-old spoke out after a narrow win over Everton enabled his team to equal the 11 game unbeaten start made by Kevin Keegan’s side in the 1994-95 season and a similar run at the beginning of the 1950-51 campaign.
“It was important for us because you want to have that on your CV,” Pardew told reporters at his post-match press conference.
“These players can have it on their CV that we have had the best start since this club has been formed. I think 1951 was the other time they went this long without being beaten in the top flight. That was something we had our eye on.
“It is also important that we are going to Manchester City unbeaten. You need confidence like that if you are going to take on a team of their power.
"After Barcelona, you put Manchester United and Manchester City in that group as the best in Europe, so we are going to the best in Europe in the next two games and we couldn’t be better place to do it.
“I haven’t spoken about going to City and United to the players but what I do know is that if you are going to go to somewhere like that you want to be in the mood we are in, whatever I put in front of them they think they are going to win.
"That inner belief is very important. There is a belief in the group that we will take to Man City and plus we should have players back for then because Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye and Shola Ameobi are injured.”
A goal from Ryan Taylor ultimately proved the difference between Newcastle and Everton after John Heitinga had set the Magpies on their way by inadvertently giving the hosts the lead with an own-goal before Jack Rodwell hit back before half-time.
“It was a difficult game because we started well but so did Everton as you would expect and once we got the goal I thought this could be a good day because we looked really on it when we went ahead,” Pardew added.
“It was a fantastic goal from Ryan Taylor and I just thought we were brilliant for 15 minutes. I don’t think anyone could have played against us in the period we worked that hard.
“But then we lost our rhythm when Yohan went off. They got a goal and you could sense the second half would be a struggle. They had all the big guns on at the end and it was probably the best team they have had on the field for a while at the end, but our resilience, and defensive quality, and the crowd got us over the line.
“We had to make three changes because of injuries and to have three players come in and pick up a game at that level is very difficult but Dan Gosling and Sammy Ameobi did brilliantly.
"It was difficult to choose between Hatem Ben Arfa and Peter Lovenkrands but I am glad I chose Hatem because he was superb. His work-rate in those 20 minutes was fantastic. It showed a different side to his game but don’t under-estimate how important he was.”