STEVEN Taylor has warned Manchester City to write Newcastle United off at their peril, writes Miles Starforth.
Alan Pardew’s side complete their pre-season preparations this evening with a game against Braga at St James’s Park.
The club’s campaign kicks off at the City of Manchester Stadium.
After an intensive pre-season, long-serving Taylor, speaking at the launch of the new NINE bar at St James’s Park, feels United’s players will be ready for whatever City throw at them on August 19.
“Everybody is expecting Man City to take three very easy points – that’ll be everybody around the world and around the country,” Taylor said.
“It isn’t going to happen. We go into it really confident.
“We have players who are really fit now. We’ve got no real problems, only Loic Remy has a slight problem, but hopefully he will be involved as well.
“It has shown in pre-season the intensity we have worked on this year.
“It’s through the roof. Anybody who has been at the training ground will tell you that.
“Fitness-wise, the lads are looking stronger and stronger. Now we look to continue that against Braga.”
Newcastle drew 1-1 against Rangers on Tuesday night in a fiercely-contested friendly at Ibrox.
While United weren’t at their best in the final third of the pitch – Papiss Demba Cisse had just one chance – they competed physically against spirited and feisty Rangers side with a point to prove.
“It was a bit of a kick up the backside, but it got us in the mood for the Man City game,” added Taylor.
“We started a bit slowly. It was a physical game, and it was something different for some of the lads, especially the foreign boys.
“For us, it was a good test and probably what we needed.”
Newcastle beat Braga 2-1 last pre-season in Faro, and defender Taylor is expecting a very different contest on the Football Association’s Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day.
“They are a very good side,” he said. “They keep the ball very well.
“I think they will be trying to make us chase the ball, but they will facing a different Newcastle team to the one they faced last pre-season.”