Newcastle United will come up against a Leeds United team who ‘must-win’ Saturday’s clash at Elland Road. That’s the verdict of former Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill.
The result will have implications at both ends of the table, with Leeds fighting against relegation and Newcastle looking to cement their Champions League place.
The hosts will start the day in trouble in the bottom three, having slipped to 19th as a result of the last round of fixtures. They are two points from safety and with only three matches remaining, time is running to save their season.
It will also see the ex-St James’ boss Sam Allardyce come up against his former club following his brief tenure in 2007-08.
Eddie Howe’s men arrive off the back of a defeat to Arsenal, but that was only their second in 10 matches and they remain favourites for a top four finish. They are currently two points clear of fourth-place Manchester United and three clear of fifth-placed Liverpool with a game-in-hand.
The pressure is on the home side, who will be staring relegation in the face if they fail to pick up all three points. O’Neill, who had a spell in the dugout of Newcastle’s rivals Sunderland, is also expecting Allardyce to be more adventurous than his opening game against Man City and expects the hosts to show more attacking intent.
“First game we all thought this was a free hit and in many aspects they have come out of that really unscathed in many ways because they [Man City] could have been out of sight,” O’Neill told Sky Sports. “Haaland has missed three goals, they have missed a penalty.
“The goal difference could be vital at the end of the season and that was really good news.
“That game has gone, he’s parked it and had a few days to work with his side, whatever tactics we thought they would have I think have to change now they are at home.
“It’s a big, big task against Newcastle United, but it’s a game they have to win. They really have to win.”
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