Charlie Mulgrew makes stark admission after Dundee United's heavy AZ Alkmaar and Hearts defeats

·3-min read
Charlie Mulgrew in action for Dundee United in the Netherlands last week
Charlie Mulgrew in action for Dundee United in the Netherlands last week

CHARLIE Mulgrew has insisted that Dundee United’s players have the mental strength needed to put their heavy back-to-back defeats to AZ Alkmaar and Hearts behind them and enjoy a successful season.

Mulgrew was disappointed when United were beaten 4-1 in a cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle on Sunday - just three days after they crashed to a humiliating 7-0 loss to Alkmaar in the Netherlands in the Conference League third qualifying round.

The vastly-experienced former Scotland internationalist admitted the Tannadice side’s performances in both away outings fell some way below the standards expected of them by their supporters.

He has urged his team mates to try to identify why they let themselves down so badly last week – and focus on getting back to winning ways when they take on St Mirren at home in the league this Saturday.

“We’re really disappointed,” he said. “We wanted to bounce back after midweek and to show real character, but we didn’t do it. It’s a sore one. We’re all just hurting about the result.

“I’m not going to make excuses. We’re all athletes, professional football players.  We’ve had a pretty good pre-season and we’ve done enough to get to a level where we are fit enough to play two games a week.

“I think we all have to self-reflect. You look at yourself firstly and be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you’ve done enough. That’s what I’ll be doing definitely. The answer will probably be ‘no I haven’t’.

“Then you need to move on quickly. You need to pick yourself up quickly. It’s not easy, but I’ve been here a good few times as a football player and it’s part and parcel of the game.

“It’s sore and painful. There are lows in football. But you need to move on quickly. I definitely think we’ve got the characters to help us move on. There’s a lot of honest boys in there who will look at themselves and realise that what we produced a group in the last two games wasn’t good enough.

“We need to look at what we could have done better, look at ourselves and the character that we showed and realise that’s not good enough and move forward.

“Firstly, I’ll reflect on it myself to see what I could do, but if I can help anyone else I’ll speak to them. If I can I will. But the players take full responsibility for what happened. We’re going to have to pick ourselves up quickly.”

Mulgrew, who helped United to finish fifth in the top flight and qualify for Europe last term, is convinced that Jack Ross’s men, who are one point of bottom spot after three outings, can do well domestically once again this term.

“Football can turn quickly,” he said. “Between now and this weekend we’ve got a lot to do. We’ve got to look at that, get our heads together and really show a lot of character for our next game. That’s the main thing.

“We wanted to do that on Sunday. That was the plan, but we didn’t do it and we let ourselves down as a team. We’ve got to do that for the next game.

“The fact we don’t have a midweek game takes one distraction out of the way and we can focus solely on St Mirren and be as prepared as we’re can. We have to make sure we’re at it and show a lot of character.

“We’re just three league games into the season. There’s still a lot of belief in there.  We’d some lows last year at various stages in the season. But we picked ourselves up.

“We’ve got to go and pick ourselves up again and really give the fans something to cheer about in our next game. Hopefully that lifts us and we get a result and we roll on from there.”