United triumphed 3-0 on Tyneside to spark a run of five wins which have fired them to the top of the Premier League standings.
Rio Ferdinand: "Before kick-off, the manager showed us the league table to emphasise that point and it didn't make pretty reading.
"I don't really look at the league table until Christmas normally.
"When we all saw it that day, it hit home. We thought, 'Wow, we need to shake ourselves up.'
"Thankfully, it turned out to be a good day for us.
"Sometimes things just click into place and we just felt very secure in that game and it felt very much like the Manchester United of old, from a couple of years ago.
"Up until the game against Newcastle, we'd been a bit open and playing in that way of 'We attack, [then] you attack'.
"This league is unforgiving in that sense. If you're not on your game in all areas you'll get punished.
"But I think the performance against Newcastle signalled a bit of a change in mentality from us and hopefully that's a taste of things to come for the rest of the season."
It was the result we feared ... but there can be no complaints ... we were RUBBISH!
NEWCASTLE UTD 0 MAN UTD 3
NEWCASTLE: 37. Steve Harper 3. Davide Santon 14. James Perch 6. Mike Williamson 31. Shane Ferguson 63' 10. Hatem Ben Arfa 24. Cheick Tiote 80' 4. Yohan Cabaye 18. Jonas Gutierrez 9. Papiss Cisse 63' 19. Demba Ba Subs
42. Jak Alnwick 5. Danny Simpson 8. Vurnon Anita 63' 20. Gael Bigirimana 80' 25. Gabriel Obertan 23. Shola Ameobi 63' 28. Sammy Ameobi
MAN UTD: 1. David De Gea 2. Rafael da Silva 5. Rio Ferdinand 6. Jonny Evans 3. Patrice Evra 23. Tom Cleverley 16. Michael Carrick 19. Danny Welbeck 10. Wayne Rooney 79' 26. Shinji Kagawa 55' 20. Robin van Persie 87' Subs
13. Anders Lindegaard 7. Antonio Valencia 55' 8. Anderson 11. Ryan Giggs 87' 14. Javier Hernandez 22. Paul Scholes 79' 31. Scott Wootton
Alan Pardew has defended Mike Ashley's spending policy - even though he was left with egg on his face when transfer window closed back in August.
The former West Ham boss licked Ashley boots after his request to bring in two top quality defenders was quashed on the final day of the window ... and Pardew came away with an eight year contract ... but was left with a defence that is like a rabbit's hind leg.
Injuries robbed him of Colo and Steven Taylor, and nobody can tell me James Perch is a Premiership central defender.
The writing was on the wall from outset, but Pardew believed we could out-shoot the Mancs and take the points.
And some of us believed him.
The reality was somewhat different, and with 15 minutes gone we could have been 5-0 down, and I really mean that!
Sir Alex Ferguson was a happy man as he watched his side take full advantage of Newcastle's generosity to climb into second place in the table.
Man Utd were handed a flying start as the Magpies' makeshift defence crumbled horrifically on two occasions inside the opening 16 minutes to allow first Jonny Evans and then Patrice Evra to head home.
Alan Pardew's men rallied in determined fashion and might have been back in the game five minutes into the second half, but Demba Ba's header came back off the bar and Papiss Cisse's follow-up was clawed on to the post by keeper David de Gea with the home contingent claiming the ball had crossed the line.
But Tom Cleverley's 71st-minute strike from long range ensured the visitors avenged their 3-0 defeat at St James' Park last season in fine style.
The bulk of a crowd of 52,203 trudged away knowing their team had contributed to its own downfall with the kind of calamitous defending which has plagued them for years, but had, until today, become less common since their return to the top flight.
United dominated possession for long periods and had greater invention with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck repeatedly stretching their hosts as Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye struggled to exercise any real control in the middle of the park.
On a day when Newcastle found themselves linked with a sponsorship deal with loans company Wonga - it is understood the stadium naming rights are not involved - Pardew's players were handing out gifts for which there was no need for repayment.
Firstly, former Sunderland defender Evans left both Mike Williamson and Ba for dead to apply the finishing touch to Van Persie's right-wing delivery with eight minutes gone, and as many minutes later, Evra, hardly the most imposing of figures physically, was similarly unaccompanied as he reached Wayne Rooney's set-piece from the left with the same result.
Newcastle's defending was simply shambolic and while they could point to the absence of Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini, four certain starters in their first-choice back five, the men handed the marking jobs in their absence failed miserably in their tasks.
As the chaos unfolded, minds turned back to Arsenal's visit to Tyneside two seasons ago when Van Persie struck twice as the Gunners surged into a 4-0 lead by half-time, but only emerged with a point after being hit by a second-half blitz.
A repeat looked unlikely, but as Newcastle gradually climbed out of the hole they had dug for themselves, the mood inside the stadium began to change.
The movement of Rooney, Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa behind lone striker Welbeck had left the Magpies chasing shadows, and Pardew opted to switch Hatem Ben Arfa to the right to give his side a better shape and a greater attacking threat.
Gradually, his players worked their way into the game, Jonas Gutierrez dragging an 18th-minute shot just wide and Cabaye only just missing the target with a curling effort.
Ba turned a Cisse cross over the bar under pressure and Cisse headed wide from a Cabaye free-kick, but crucially, the Magpies failed to test keeper David de Gea.
A full-blooded 45 minutes saw five men booked by referee Howard Webb - Tiote and Gutierrez for Newcastle and Kagawa, Rio Ferdinand and Van Persie for United - and there was little sign of the tempo abating after the break.
Indeed, Newcastle thought they were back in it within five minutes of the restart when Ba got to Shane Ferguson's cross ahead of De Gea, but saw his effort come back off the bar.
Strike-partner Cisse headed the rebound towards goal, where the keeper managed to divert it on to the post with the striker insisting the ball had already crossed the line, but to no avail.
Ba headed wide from another Cabaye cross, but United continued to threaten on the counter and might have extended their lead when Welbeck held off Davide Santon and laid the ball off for Cleverley, but the midfielder skied his 57th-minute effort.
Keeper Steve Harper had to get down well to keep out Rooney's skidding left-foot effort three minutes later with the visitors pressing once again.
The home side kept plugging away with Hatem Ben Arfa dragging a well-struck left-foot shot marginally wide, but the game was over 19 minutes from time when Cleverley accepted Rooney's lay-off on the left wing and curled the ball right-footed across Harper and into the top corner.