BULLISH Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew watched his players dismiss a formidable Bordeaux side 3-0 in the Europa Cup and then called on his players to deliver more of the same against Manchester United on Sunday.
Newcastle's impressive performance against the French club lifted them to top spot in Europa Cup Group D and according to Pardew, showed the right form at the right time.
“You are only as good as the standards you set, and we set ourselves standards last year that we had not reached until last night in my opinion and thank goodness because we are playing Manchester United on Sunday, who are hurt from the Tottenham result,” claimed Pardew.
The Toon beat Bordeaux without the services of key men Davide Santon, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba, and saw Papiss Cisse, who scored his first goal of the campaign against United in the Capital One Cup last week, find the back of the net once again.
Pardew revealed after the game that he had voiced dissatisfaction in the dressing room with his side's recent form, and got just the response he was looking for.
Asked what he had said, Pardew replied: “That will stay in the dressing room. It wasn't anything untoward, I just felt that tactically and the work of the team and our energy needed to improve to the standards we set last year.
“You can bet your life this place is going to be rocking on Sunday after that performance, and it is going to be a tough game for us and a tough game for Manchester United for sure.”
“I think our energy levels will be good for United, I think our fans will be pretty excited about that fixture, and I am looking forward to it.”
United boss Alex Ferguson received a huge boost with the news that Chris Smalling is back training but while he is getting up to full speed, Champions League debutant Scott Wootton is more than happy to fill in.
Wootton is odds on to start against Newcastle after a brief cameo against FC Cluj gave him a taste of the big time in midweek and saw Jonny Evans ruled out of action with a dead leg.
Ferguson's massive defensive injury list means the 21-year-old defender has started his first senior game and made his Champions League debut over the past 10 days.
And if Evans fails to recover from the dead leg he aggravated in Tuesday's successful trip to Cluj, Wootton could be in line for a Premier League debut on Sunday.
“You want to progress as a footballer and these are the next steps. For young players at a lot of top clubs the League Cup is where the managers embed them into the team, so obviously I was delighted with that,” said Wotton when asked about his debut in 2-1 Capital One Cup win over Newcastle, tomorrow's league opposition.
“But in all these situations, it would be wrong to do anything different than you would normally. Obviously, there are some differences but you try to concentrate on your football just the same.”