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Boss set for Boxing Day test on the Tyne

New presser29.10c

New presser29.10c

Roberto Mancini is aiming to shake off the disappointment of Monday's defeat to Everton when City travel to St James' Park on Boxing Day.

The cold snap means that Newcastle will not have played since they won their first game with Alan Pardew in charge, at home to Liverpool.

This season's first meeting between City & Newcastle was a hard-fought encounter and despite the change in manager on Tyneside the Blues' boss expects nothing less than a tough test this weekend.

"I thought they played well with their other manager, they did when they played us here and they have gone well with their first manager and now this one. It will be a difficult game, but we have to win because we lost points against Everton. That's our target but we will have to play well to do that.

"They beat Liverpool two weeks ago, and that was not an easy game. It's normal when a team changes a manager, they always make a different effort in the first game.

 

Carroll is a strong player, still young and can improve. He has a big chance in the future for Newcastle and for England.

 

The freezing weather that has gripped the UK for weeks has resurrected calls for a mid-winter break in the football programme, but Mancini is adamant that any changes should work around the traditional Boxing Day games.

"In England Boxing Day is a very important game. My opinion is that maybe players in England do need a rest some time, not Boxing Day but maybe a week in January off for all players. That would be a good opportunity for them."

On the injury front, Mancini added that Pablo Zabaleta is expected to shake off blows to ankle and head for Sunday, and that Mario Balotelli will also be available.

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