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(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Manchester United have never lost three of their opening seven matches in any Premier League season, but are in danger of losing that record when they make the tough trip to Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.
An unconvincing 2-1 win over Cluj in the Champions League followed on from United's 3-2 loss to Tottenham Hotspur (their second defeat of the campaign), and manager Sir Alex Ferguson is aware of how tricky this Sunday's game will be for his side.
"It's always a difficult place to go," said Ferguson. "They'll be buoyed by their support. I think Alan Pardew has a really good team there. After the game against Tottenham we have to make sure we don't lose. We played some really good football at times (against Tottenham) and it was interesting to play Rooney, Chicharito and Robin van Persie together. It gives me some thoughts and options for certain games.
"I watched Newcastle last night (in a 3-0 win over Bordeaux in the Europa League) and they played a few of their squad and left a few others out. But they still won convincingly. It was a good performance and a good result for them."
Newcastle boss Pardew was handed an eight-year contract for his excellent work at the club last week, and responded by managing his team to that big European win on Thursday.
"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," said Pardew. "You can bet your life this place (the SportsDirect Arena) 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. Bordeaux was a team that hadn't been beaten for 17 games, so that is a great result. It was a perfect night. We knocked the spirit out of them in terms of the clinical nature of our goals. The performance level was exactly what we needed."
Newcastle have doubts over Rob Elliott (groin), Steven Taylor (calf) and Fabricio Coloccini (thigh), while Tim Krul (elbow) and Ryan Taylor (knee) are out. United have doubts over Jonny Evans (dead leg), Ryan Giggs (illness), Michael Carrick (illness) and Antonio Valencia (ankle). Nemanja Vidic (knee), Phil Jones (knee), Ashley Young (knee), and Chris Smalling (foot) are out.
The Magpies picked up four points against United last season, winning 3-0 at home. That win at the SportsDirect Arena ended a run of 18 games without a win against Ferguson's side. United have mustered just a point from their last two visits to Newcastle, after winning six of the seven previous games at the ground.
Updated October 5, 2012