Steven Taylor is hoping Newcastle can show improvement in the Premier League this season, starting against Manchester City on Monday.
Alan Pardew's side travel to the Etihad Stadium for the final match of the first round of games in the 2013-14 calendar on Monday night, and the centre-back is looking for them to cause an upset.
The Magpies have not beaten City since 2005 and lost both of their meetings last season, but the defender thinks the early nature of the fixture gives them a chance to catch Manuel Pellegrini's men by surprise.
"The big games are what we look forward to," the 27-year-old told the club's official website. "We've got Manchester City first game and hopefully we can catch them off guard.
"I think what you're going to find on Monday is a fitter Newcastle United team compared to last season, and hopefully we can show that and produce the goods on the pitch."
The Tyneside outfit followed up an impressive 2011-12 campaign with a disappointing 16th-place finish last time around, but Taylor believes they are better prepared for the coming season.
"As players, along with the manager and staff, we were disappointed with our performances last year," he added.
"We didn't hit the grade that we wanted to and hopefully this year we can hit the ground running, starting with Man City in the first game."
Taylor, a product of Newcastle's youth academy, has made 164 appearances for the club in all competitions since his debut in 2004.