Sir Alex Ferguson believes Newcastle United's indifferent form this season is because the "surprise" factor has been removed as teams begin to work them out.

Sir Alex Ferguson: "The new players they brought in caught us all by surprise.

"We didn't really know a lot about them. I knew about [Demba] Ba, of course, but I didn't know anything about [Yohan] Cabaye or [Papiss] Cissé, to be honest with you.

"They had fantastic seasons.

"Second time round, clubs are starting to analyse them a bit different, plus, more importantly, he's [Pardew] had some injuries.

"Cabaye's out till next year, [Cheik] Tiote is out to next year, he's had one or two important players injured and that does make a difference when you've not got a squad as strong as the likes of ourselves or [Manchester] City or Chelsea.

"I'm not entirely surprised [by their form], although I am surprised they are so low down the table."