Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Laid-Back Magpies Boss Takes Heat off; No Pressure Because We're Underdogs, Says Hughton: Pressure Is off., Admits Hughton

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Laid-Back Magpies Boss Takes Heat off; No Pressure Because We're Underdogs, Says Hughton: Pressure Is off., Admits Hughton

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

CHRIS Hughton will send Newcastle United into their 17th season of Premier League football telling them the pressure is off.

The Magpies and Manchester United will be the last two sides to get under way in 2010-11 when they meet at Old Trafford this evening.

The delay has given both extra preparation time after Wednesday's badlytimed internationals, and allowed the Magpies' relegation rivals Blackpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers to start the campaign with surprise wins. Manager Hughton believes facing Sir Alex Ferguson's men first should relax his players.

"It's a game nobody really expects us to win and most people don't expect us to get anything out of," he said. "We've got to give a good impression of ourselves.

"If you go there with too much fear the result becomes inevitable, but you can't be too expansive or they will pick us off. If we sit back too much they will have too much time on the ball."

Newcastle opened with the same fixture two years ago, claimed a hugely encouraging 1-1 draw but were relegated come the season's end. Last year, West Bromwich Albion made them work very hard for an opening-day draw, but could not stop them comfortably winning the Championship. Hughton will therefore not read too much into tonight's scoreline.

He hopes others do likewise. "Our season won't be based on a result on Monday, it will be based on a tough 38-game season," he argued. "It's important nobody gets carried away either way with the result. We're realistic at our end that it's going to be a tough season with highs and lows. You've just got to make sure you get through the lows. How we play in this match is not the be-all and end-all. Once you start getting five games in, it's how many points you've picked up then."

Hughton must decide if or how to use Jon[sz]s Gutirrez after the Argentine's extended post-World Cup break. …

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