Toon boss Pardew braced for Old Trafford test

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is braced for Friday's daunting trip to Manchester United.

In-form United host Newcastle at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, boasting a seven-match unbeaten record in the Premier League.

United's form is in stark contrast from last season, when they had failed to win in three previous league games before losing 1-0 at home to Newcastle in December 2013.

And Pardew, whose Newcastle sit ninth in the standings, is aware his side must enjoy large spells of possession, just like they did last season, if they are to avoid leaving Old Trafford empty-handed.

"The big reason we did well [last season] is that we retained the ball," Pardew said. "We had an equal share of it - and we need that again because, with this particular Manchester United side, if they get to 60 per cent possession you've no chance of winning the game.

"It's because of the players they've got - [Wayne] Rooney, [Robin] Van Persie, [Angel] Di Maria - they're just top talent. If they see enough of the ball they're going to score a goal."

Newcastle are a much-changed side since that 1-0 win in Manchester on December 6 last year, with Yohan Cabaye among the list of absentees.

Cabaye is now plying his trade with Paris Saint-Germain, while Mathieu Debuchy (Arsenal), Shola Ameobi (Gaziantep BB), Loic Remy (Chelsea), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (on loan at Roma) and Hatem Ben Arfa (on loan at Hull City) have vacated the club.

With that in mind, Pardew will be adopting a different approach against Louis van Gaal's men.

"Our team is very different from last year when we were about possession-type football with Yohan Cabaye in the number 10 role," Pardew said.

"We haven't got that type of player now and we're not going to be able to dictate like we did that day; we're a different side, with different attributes. But we have good pace on the break.

"At times Manchester United could struggle against us but I'll have to try to set up my team with some more passing options and possibly a change of personnel."