Alan Pardew says he's "desperate" for Newcastle United to stay up ahead of Saturday's meeting with his Crystal Palace side.
Pardew has been speaking ahead of his first return to St James's Park since leaving the club in December 2014.
A win could lift second-bottom Newcastle out of the Premier League's relegation zone, while 16th-placed Palace themselves are not yet mathematically certain of survival.
Asked about his former club's plight, Pardew said: "I course I want them to stay up. I'm desperate for them to stay up.
"Having said that, my job is to get three points for Palace."
Pardew labelled a question from a TV journalist on his likely reception at St James's Park as being "loaded".
He said: "I know how I feel. I loved managing that football club.
"I had some fantastic moments there, and fantastic games ... quarter-finals of the Europa League, we finished fifth and manager of the year.
"We had some great moments and also had some difficult moments."
United have taken five points from their last three games against Liverpool, Manchester City and Swansea City.
And Pardew is "worried" by the club's upturn in form.
"I think they've improved," he said. "Rafa's an experienced manager who has managed at the top of the game.
"He's got this team in a much better place to win the game and that worries me."