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Dundee boss James McPake talks manager pressure as he targets victory over Dunfermline

Dundee manager James McPake.
Dundee manager James McPake.

Football management is filled with pressure and Dundee boss James McPake has been feeling it more than most over the past few weeks.

A poor night at home to Ayr last Tuesday ramped it up even further and saw the Dens boss answering questions over his future at the club.

Having failed to keep pace with Hearts at the top of the Championship, even a place in the top four to secure a play-off slot looked in doubt.

That’s still by no means secure but the Dark Blues welcome one of their rivals for the play-offs Dunfermline on Saturday in good spirits after an impressive 3-0 win at Alloa.

Immediately after that match speaking to BBC Scotland McPake’s first words showed the strain that victory had lifted.

He said: “Relieved. It gives me a chance to sleep for the weekend.”

When joining the written press shortly after that, the Dundee boss cut a drained figure as he talked through his team’s performance.

James McPake at full-time at Alloa.

However, this week he revealed he wished he hadn’t talked about his disrupted sleep live on TV as he discussed the pressure of being a manager.

Pressure of being a manager ‘completely different’

Asked if there is a big difference now being the man in charge rather than a player, McPake replied: “The pressure is there to perform and for the team to win but it is different.

“Every decision that’s made, people look at.

“There is plenty of experience here at the club we can tap into, though.

“It is a different pressure being a manager. This side of the game is completely different but would I change it? No.

“It’s something I love and I’ve loved coaching ever since I got injured.

Max Anderson seals victory with a late third goal at Alloa.

“The pressure is part and parcel of the job.

“I wouldn’t say as a player you don’t feel it after a defeat – I saw all of our players last week thinking they’d let the club down.

“When you are a manager, you look over every decision. When we get beat, everything is wrong – should we have played him, we should have done this earlier or this different.

“I think it just throws a whole load of questions your way when you are manager.

“As a player you are thinking about how you did first and foremost.

“But when you have a good bunch then everyone is pulling in the right direction and I believe that is what we have got – that’s why I knew there would be a reaction on Friday.

“I could have looked pretty silly if there wasn’t but we showed up.”

‘Roles are reversed’

Seeing off the Wasps so convincingly on Friday, McPake was able to enjoy his weekend after turning the pressure on their rivals for the top four.

With Dundee having already picked up three points, none of the rest of the top half were able to follow suit.

That leaves the Dark Blues, Raith Rovers and Dunfermline all level on 30 points with Inverness now only three points behind alongside Queen of the South.

Dunfermline were knocked out of the Scottish Cup on penalties by Morton on Tuesday.

This weekend McPake’s men take to the field after everybody else, kicking off against the Pars at 7.20pm.

Raith are home to Morton, Inverness host Arbroath and Queens head to leaders Hearts ahead of the Saturday night kick-off.

“The roles are reversed this week,” McPake added.

“Last weekend we won and put pressure on others, this weekend teams can put pressure on us.

“We have had a free week of planning to gear up for Dunfermline on Saturday and we saw them again on Tuesday night.

“The most important thing, though, last weekend was getting three points on Friday night.

“That’s what we are focusing on for Saturday.”

 

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