Pardew: Magpies are ready to go
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is adamant any talk of frustration at St James' Park could not be further from the truth and his team are better prepared than ever for the new Barclays Premier League season ahead.
The Magpies head to Manchester City on Monday with plenty of cause to celebrate the end of a summer break marked by behind-the-scenes upheaval, transfer woe and a high-profile sponsorship dispute.
But Pardew has remained remarkably upbeat through all the issues, not least the controversial appointment of former boss Joe Kinnear as the club's new director of football.
And he insists there is no reason why his side cannot put the memories of last season's struggle behind them and regain the form that saw them sweep to fifth place in the 2011-12 campaign.
Pardew said: "There is always that special feeling when the Premier League is kicking off and I think we've worked hard on pre-season and got the group in fantastic condition.
"You can never read too much into pre-season - two years ago we lost to Leeds in our final pre-season game and were all over the place, but we went on to finish fifth.
"What I do know is the guys are fitter than they've ever been under my management and they're ready to go.
"Last year was difficult for us, not only with the extra games but also because it was compounded by an injury crisis. We will be better armed next time we go into Europe and that's where we want to play."
Pardew's lack of success in bringing in new players this summer - his only addition so far, Loic Remy, is ruled out with a thigh strain - comes in sharp contrast to the millions splashed by City's new boss Manuel Pellegrini.
But Pardew believes rather than being daunted by their opening fixture, his side have a magnificent chance to produce a performance which will be seen as a statement of intent for the season ahead.
Pardew added: "It's a psychological game for us in terms of putting ourselves in the minds of everybody with a really strong performance and hopefully we'll get some points out of it.
"City have invested heavily again and obviously they will be one of the top contenders for the title, so it is going to be a tough game but it is one we are more than ready for.
"Pellegrini's style is not too different to Roberto Mancini but I think there is more of an emphasis on being forward-thinking and they will look to put more pressure on us when we have got the ball.
"We need to take care but the ideal scenario is to get a result of some kind and I think we've got the players to do it. We've got some fabulous players and we've got an opportunity, and hopefully we can take it."