Pardew urges Magpies to keep the ball at Old Trafford

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NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew’s instructions to his players at Old Trafford tomorrow will be simple: Don’t give Manchester United the ball!

Pardew felt his team was far too wasteful in possession during Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat at Swansea.

Michael Laudrup’s side dominated possession, and they took control as Newcastle’s players – who had been chasing the ball before the break – tired in the second half.

Pardew is adamant that there can be no repeat tomorrow.

“For us, we need to make sure we’re at our best and react to the Swansea defeat,” Pardew said.

“Our retention of the ball, particularly in the first half, must be better.

“We can’t turn the ball to Manchester United like that. I hope we’ll play a lot better.

“But I don’t think it’s dented our confidence. If we’d had a couple of decisions, we could have taken something from the game.”

The Swansea defeat saw Newcastle drop to seventh in the Premier League, although they are two places better off than David Moyes’s defending champions, who lost to Everton in midweek.

“It’s fair to say the pressure is on Manchester United for this game,” added Pardew. “There’s extreme motivation for them. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.”

Pardew feels whoever was going to succeed the hugely-successful Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to find it difficult.

However, he believes Moyes has the strength of character to see the job through.

“I think everybody knew that the first person to follow Alex, it was going to be very, very difficult,” he said. “But he’s a strong man, and I think he can handle it, and there’s a long, long way to go.

“I think they had gone 12 games unbeaten up until that game, so it’s not as if there’s a crisis there.

“They have lost a game, which as I say, anybody can do in the Premier League at the moment.

“Their reaction is going to be a little bit larger than ours, so there’s going to be a little bit of pressure on them and we have got to try to capitalise on that and make it difficult for them.

“If we can do that and get into the last period of the game, we could try to reverse a statistic that isn’t very good of Newcastle winning at Manchester United.”