Looking ahead to Newcastle v Manchester City tonight, United surely only have one major obstacle to overcome.

That is a lack of belief that they could/should get something from the game.

There are some stats that go against Newcastle expecting a draw or better, such as it being 11 years since NUFC last beat these visitors in a league game.

However, going back to 2005 when Alan Shearer was still playing for Newcastle and Michael Owen scored the winner, is surely of far less relevance than more recent events.

Manchester City are not the force they were when winning the Premier League, they are still good and on occasions very good, but the fact remains that they have failed to win 15 of their 33 league matches this season.

On top of City only winning just over half their games, they are meeting an opposition tonight that should be at least as motivated as any that they have faced this season, Newcastle’s survival resting on this and the following four games.

Yes Manchester City have had some decent results recently but it is only a month since they went to Norwich and failed to score a goal, the game finishing 0-0.

Visiting Villa Park this campaign, Man City also failed to score there and came away with only a point.

At Sunderland, despite scoring early through Aguero, the Mackems were the better team, having equal possession and more attempts at goal, shots on target and corners.

Three of the four worst teams in the Premier League have all given it their best shot, so why not Newcastle United?

Even the game at the Etihad gives Newcastle every hope, leading until just before half-time and by far the better team, United should have been two or three up. However, an equaliser led to an embarrassing collapse and leaking six goals in 20 minutes was just beyond the pale.

Manchester City could come up here and really turn it on, take Newcastle apart and you would have to accept that on occasions they can do that.

However, there haven’t been many of those occasions this season and the Newcastle players have to take the mentality onto the pitch that at the very least they don’t expect to get beat.