For a detailed preview of the match with stats, team news, match details, thoughts on the upcoming game etc, please check out our comprehensive match preview. We will also be posting our regular “match banter” thread, where you can make comments, share streams for the game etc while the match is in progress. This should be going up around and hour before the kick off. Also, we shall be posting our usual report of the game some time after along with highlights when they become available.
Getting back to what the managers have been saying though, we start as usual in the black and white corner with Alan Pardew, who had much to say as always. Even as far back as Monday, Mr.Motivator was blowing his trumpet about today’s City game, with the general themes being “winning” and “belief”. On these themes the Silver Supremo mused:
“Belief comes from results as much as anything. I genuinely think the team believe they can win every game we enter. We will go to Manchester City thinking we can win.
“That is very important because every manager, I don’t care who he is, sets their team up to win; they have a tactical plan in place.
“Players, though, have to believe because if there is not an inner belief you can win then the players after 25 minutes, 30 minutes, accept it is going to be a tough day.
“Perhaps they start protecting themselves, come off the game plan and then it is usually a case of trying to keep the score down or make it respectable.
“We are not doing that, we believe we can win, no matter if the (other) team scores two, we still believe we can win.
“When you actually look at our squad, I thought it was a lot stronger than people were giving it credit for.
“Nevertheless, you still need breaks and you still need to gain wins at crucial times.
“The Sunderland game was a massive game for us and then the Wolves game, when we could have conceded a last-minute goal and when perhaps Wolves deserved to get something that day.
“Purely because of work-rate, and we have the best defensive record in the league, all those things add up to where we are.
“Where we go from here is going to be down to momentum and injuries.”
Aye Alan, full marks for optimism and self belief, though Sunderland and Wolves aren’t quite Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea, so I think we might need a huge dollop of luck too. Here’s hoping!
Anyway, moving on a few days down the road, in another press call he was still “full of confidence”. When Manchester City’s more than impressive goals per game ratio was mentioned by a reporter and he was asked how he would deal with that, he then reponded:
“Well I’m lucky to prepare with the best defence in the league, so that helps.”
Aye Alan, indeed we have, amazingly. With only eight goals conceeded, we have conceeded two goals less than Liverpool and today’s opponents, who have the second meanest defences in the Premiership so far. Anyway, Pardew continued on today’s opponents:
“They carry a threat whatever tactical plan you have.
“You could park the bus (in front of the goal), I think they could unlock you. You could come out and have a go and they could pick you off.
“That’s what a great team can do, they can deal with any scenario you throw at them.
“Having said that, we are unbeaten, we go there full of confidence, and whatever game plan we have, the players have good faith in it and will do their best to see it through.
“I’m hoping that we cause ’em some problems.”
Speking from Newcastle United’s Benton training ground, he kept up the upbeat message in the face of the coming storm. Starting on how the players who weren’t on international duty during the Premiership break he said:
“The guys who haven’t been on international duty have been terrific.
“The training has been brilliant. We are looking forward to the game.
“We have a few players to come back today and Man City certainly have the luxury of more players to call upon. But we can’t wait.”
Returning again to the international break, he also told Alan Brazil’s Sports Breakfast show how the week without a Premiership time gave him extra time to study Manchester City’s previous games, and how opposition teams dealt with them saying:
“The international break has given me a good chance to study teams who’ve played City, and everyone who’s tried to sit off them and be conservative has been beaten quite comfortably.
“But the two or three teams who’ve had a go – with the exception of Manchester United, who had a man sent off and had a bad day at the office – have done well.
“So that’s the attitude we’ll take and hopefully we’ll cause them some problems.
“After Barcelona and Real Madrid they are the form team in Europe [at the moment] and we have to have confidence and belief, which we’ve got. I think we’ll give them a good game.”
Finally, we have Pardew speaking on the issue of United’s game against City around a year ago under previous manager, Chris Hughton, when Hatem Ben Arfa was the victim of a vicious scissor tackle by notorious Manchester City hatchet man and martial arts enthusiast, Nigel de Jong. As most you no doubt know, this left Ben Arfa’s leg broken in two places and out for the whole of the season. On the news that De Jong wanted to meet the player, Pardew spoke of how he “appreciated” the move by De Jong, and how he had a converstion with Ben Arfa himself about the incident commenting:
“The player has contacted him, which I appreciate as the manager of the other team.”
“We have said after the game would be a good time – not before. Hopefully, that will then come to rest.”
Then moving on to his conversation with Ben Arfa he added:
“I had a conversation with him about it because I think you could carry some demons when you have an injury like that.
“But he was absolutely clear to me that he has no problem about going back there, no problem about facing their particular player.
“What I do know is, a year down the line – and it has taken that long – he is back somewhere near his best, and that’s good news for us.”
And that’s that for Pardew for the moment. Moving over to the blue corner, Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini heaped praise on Newcastle and their great start to the season beginning:
“Newcastle ees a stronga team, they donna losa any game until now.
After having a quick moan about having to play the bigga games every few days he continued:
“I thinka their confidence is 100%, they playa very well.
“I watcha da game at Stoke, they play fantastic football, they deserva to beat Stoke.
“Thees moment issa stronga team, they conceed few goals. I thinka tomorrow be a very tough game for us.”
Like Pardew in the interview transcribed above, he was then asked about De Jong’s request to meet Ben Arfa. On whether he was “pleased” he responded:
“Theesa situation canna happen in every game.” (Aye, if one of the players is a psycho Roberto).
“Ees important that Ben Arfa comma back without problem, can play becausa for me eesa good, good player”
After a few other questions on other matters, mostly the “Tevezgate” imbroglio, he returned to the theme of the Newcastle United game starting on the mindset of his own squad:
“The only impoportant thing is this, the squad is good, the players are positive in this moment, and issa important that we starta that experience tomorrow with a good result.”
After being questioned on his numerous attacking options and how he would approach the game, Mancini continued:
“I think it will be hard tomorrow. I hadda good memory last year against Newcastle at home.
“We hadda big problem, we score the second goal in the lasta ten minutes and tomorrow I think will be the same.
“They improva alota as a team, they defenda very well and they hava a good striker inna front.
“I think that issa really gooda team. They have a good manager.”
After drifting off for a while on to other topics which I already broached in my match preview, such as Owen Hargreaves being out through a lack of match fitness, he returned to Newcastle United once again. When asked if he was “surprised about how good they’ve been” Mancini said:
“No, no no no, becausa also last year they playa very very well. They losa good striker. Buta they [unintelligible word] Demba Ba, scora every games. I think this year issa very good team. Also they losa good player froma last year buta I thinka the manager issa good manager.”
Finally, when asked “where Newcastle could realistically be aiming for this year” Mancini concluded:
“I donna know, this is difficult.
“I think, this is my opinion, that Arsenal, Liverpool, they canna come backa the top four.
“You know, when you starta the season, I thinka the first 10/12/15 games, they could be maybe soma thatta staya the top, and after, maybe, goa backa the middle the table.
“Buta I thinka at this moment Newcastle issa set to stay there.
High praise indeed for the Magpies from Mancini there.
Well that just about wraps this review of what the managers have been saying about our latest game. All that’s left is to say:
Howay the Lads!