Dundee United boss Micky Mellon has launched a staunch defence of his team’s style of play as the Terrors prepare to welcome Hibs to Tannadice today.
Mellon came under fire from fans on social media following their 5-1 loss to St Mirren on Wednesday night with some calling for him to ‘go’ and lamenting his tactics.
The Tangerines, the second lowest scorers in the top flight, have been criticised this season for being too defensive and drawing too many games.
Although Mellon has sympathy with the agitated Arabs, he insists they are doing the best with the resources at hand, again pointing to United making the step up from the Championship after promotion last year.
He said: “I understand everybody has a way they want to see football being played, I do, but what you’ve got to understand is I came into this with a Championship team and we’re trying to grow into a Premiership team.
“If the leagues in Scotland are right, which I suspect they are, then the reason why there are divisions is because you move up in a level in everything you’re going to get asked to do.
“I’ve never once asked the players, and this is me speaking honestly, to just do me a favour and go out and defend for the whole game.
“Sometimes, because of the change of level, the challenge Dundee United face is going to be very different from the one they did last season.
“These players that have come up have never faced this opposition or the power they possess before.
“It was going to be a different ask the group were going to have to adapt to and that is what they’re doing.
“It’s my job to help them grow by keeping us in the game with clean sheets and to try to score goals.
“I understand people want to see a certain style of play but sometimes it just can’t be done until we keep improving.”
“I watch all of the football in Scotland and there’s nobody playing like Bayern Munich”
Hammering home his point, Mellon made an analogy suggesting they cannot be expected to play like top European teams like German champions Bayern Munich.
He continued: “You’ll never please everybody, that’s for sure, but we’ll grow to a place where we’re getting results and you think you’re playing well so you can go anywhere and play your way.
“I changed the shape on Wednesday to a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1. Formations don’t really make any difference to me, in terms of, we still have players that can go and attack and score goals in any formation.
“We’re playing against better teams now, you’re not pinning teams back at this level unless you’re the Old Firm.
“I watch all of the football in Scotland and there’s nobody playing like Bayern Munich – the games are tight and tough with not much between a lot of the teams.”
United need to show character to bounce back from sore St Mirren defeat
Mellon says his lads are over the disappointment of the defeat at the hands of the Buddies and, after a team meeting, are fully focused on picking up points as fourth-placed Hibs come to town.
He added: “I know everybody hates me trotting out the statement: ‘I’m disappointed about the result’.
“I was but I know I’m accountable because I’m the manager. I feel accountable for the players being organised and understanding what we want from them.
“I’ve got to make sure their right up for all their jobs. So I take accountability for it.
“I just felt to lose three goals in the manner that we did would be difficult at any time.
“Two penalties and a set-play is not in my control – I can’t really do anything about that, it’s a decision from the referee.
“That makes the whole thing very difficult then and the whole performance because you’re 3-0 down coming in at half time.
“You start thinking: ‘Could any more go against us to make this much worse?’
“But then we get a goal back and keep plugging away but there was things that we knew we should’ve done better.
“I don’t want to be seen as a manager that’s not taking responsibility for Dundee United’s results – I’d never want it to be like that.
“We don’t bat it off. We had a good meeting after the game to tell the players I wanted to think about what I wanted us to gain even out of a sore defeat.
“I wanted to make sure I spent time with them the next day so we came in and spoke about it to learn from it.
“We finished it and it was done. We’ve moved on now but I’ll always look at myself and ask if I can do any more or be better because I want to be a very good Dundee United manager.
“We need to show some character – there’ll be no excuses about confidence, trust me.
“I expect my team to go out today, run hard and fight hard to try to win a game of football.”
Siegrist, Butcher and Fuchs in contention this afternoon as King heads for Raith
Benjamin Siegrist (calf), Calum Butcher (hamstring) and Jeando Fuchs (knee) are all fit ahead of this afternoon’s match, while Logan Chalmers (ankle) is expected to return to first-team training on Monday.
Meanwhile, midfielder Adam King (25) has joined Championship Raith Rovers on loan until the end of the season.
Of the move, boss Mellon said: “Adam’s gone and that’ll be good for him to get some football.
“I spoke to Adam very early in my time here and I felt I had a lot of midfield players that were, with all due respect, ahead of him.
“I’m really pleased he’ll go find some football now. He’s a really good pro and a good lad.”
Dundee United expect no more movement in or out of Tannadice before the winter transfer window closes on Monday night.