SALOMON Rondon believes Newcastle United have no need to fear Manchester United as they try to put 2018 behind them.

The first fixture of the new year sees the Premier League’s other under-achieving United arrive at St James’ Park on Wednesday night.

And, inevitably, the on-loan West Bromwich striker will be the man home hopes will be handing upon for a goal or two to hurt the visitors, who have been released from the shackles imposed by Jose Mourinho.

The Venuezuelan scored one against Watford on Saturday, had two more disallowed and also came close to another in the second half when he headed narrowly over from a Matt Ritchie corner.

“Every game in this league is difficult but this one is like a final because you are playing against great players,” he said.

“We need to stay compact and focused, keep our spirit and attitude, and remember we are playing in front of our fans. This is our home and we want to do well here.

“In the past teams have feared playing United, and maybe you think about their history, but they are the same as us – two arms, two legs – and we will do our best to take three points.”

Rondon will go into the game having scored five goals from his last eight Premier League outings, and recalled the 3-2 loss at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

The striker didn’t play in that early October fixture but Newcastle, then still without a victory in any competition, made a blistering start by taking a two-goal lead within the first ten minutes.

“We played well at Old Trafford this season, and a lot had happened since that game,” Rondon added. “Their confidence is high because they have enjoyed a couple of good wins, but the most important thing is how we approach the game.

“It’s about how we look after our team-mates, how we play as a team, and to play with the spirit which helped us to go on the run which lifted us up the table. We know we can do it. This is the challenge.”

Newcastle cannot be sucked into the bottom three thanks to their point at Watford. Rondon said: “It’s still a massive point for us because it shows we are ready to fight. Watford play with a high intensity at home and we worked so hard to contain them. The most important thing is the spirit, and that was never missing.”