Writer: Arab Jacques
Date:Tuesday November 21 2006
Dundee United manager Craig Levein saw many positives in his sides 2-1 defeat to bottom-of-the-table side Dunfermline at the weekend.
Cheered on by a huge travelling support, United looked to have all 3 points sewn up after 50 minutes, when Barry Robson scored the goal which everyone knew had been coming for most of the game.
However, Dunfermline bounced back and somehow managed to score 2 late goals to snatch an undeserved win, stretching their unbeaten run against United at East End Park to an embarrassing 10 years.
Ironically, the performance from the Tangerine & Black side was much improved on recent wins over Rangers & Kilmarnock, a fact not lost on manager Levein.
"The performance in some regards was better than it`s been, but we lost two goals late in the match which kind of sours any good stuff that we did" said Levein.
"I'm obviously disappointed but overall there are encouraging things, we didn`t take our opportunities but I still think we should have been strong enough to hold out."
"We lost goals because we didn`t do things we`d been working on, but we dominated most of a game away from home because we were trying to do the things we had been working on and, when that happens, the players should be encouraged."
"However, there is still plenty of stuff that encourages me—it`s one setback."
In recent seasons, Dundee United haven`t had that winning mentality and after going 1-0 up have sat back and allowed teams to come at them, rather than taking the initiative and pushing forward to finish the opposition off.
Against Dunfermline, that didn`t seem to be the problem, as United were caught short in defence, because they were going forward. Even after the Pars equalized, the United side still sensed that victory was within their grasp and ultimately it cost them when Dunfermline caught them out on the counter attack.
"No matter what you or I think watching from the sidelines, players do what they do and, while a draw might have seemed a good result at that late stage, they still felt there was a good chance to win a game they had dominated, and they went for it" Levein told the Evening Telegraph
He continued "It didn`t happen, they got caught out and I am not happy with losing two avoidable goals, but wanting to go for a winner when the scores are level is not something I want to knock out of them."
"If you are 1-0 up, then there is a case for trying to run the clock down, but, at 1-1, I will always want my players to be thinking about how to win.
"And we have to remember we are talking about a team where confidence has been low. We need to get it up and support the players when they are trying to play the right way."
Hopefully, the players will take this winning mentality into next weekends home match against St Mirren, who are also at the wrong end of the SPL table just 2 points above United.
Date:Tuesday November 21 2006
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