Jim Goodwin has accused Dundee United’s players of lacking the courage to keep them in the Premiership.
Barring a miracle today in Motherwell, the Tannadice club will be relegated. They need to beat the Steelmen and hope Ross County lose at Kilmarnock, with an eight-goal swing going in United’s favour. Deep down, Goodwin knows their fate is sealed.fter making a successful pitch to owner Mark Ogren, the 41-year-old was handed a two-year deal as new permanent boss and given the chance to lead the club out of the Championship next term. And with that green light from up top, Goodwin will set about making major changes.
Because after watching the Tangerines capitulate against Kilmarnock in their relegation decider on Wednesday night, he’s not convinced they have the stomach for a fight. And he says it’s no coincidence THREE gaffers – with Jack Ross and Liam Fox coming before him – have been unable to eek performances out of this group of players. Ahead of today’s clash, Goodwin said: “I came in to do a job and I haven’t been able to do it, unfortunately. But there was a couple of guys before me as well who tried to do things differently and they weren’t able to get a tune out of them either.
“As players, they are an honest group of boys. I don’t think there has ever been a lack of trying. Individually, we have lots of good, technical players. But as a team, collectively, it quite simply hasn’t been good enough. The team hasn’t gelled and that’s the crux of it.
“The balance of the squad is not where it needs to be. There are a lot of similar players throughout the group. I was bringing on substitutes against Kilmarnock who are very similar to the ones going off. That makes it very hard to make real changes. We tried different systems and different personnel. Even during games we’ve chopped and changed from a back three to four.
“But tactics are just one part of the game. You need to show desire and you need players to go and out-fight your opponent sometimes. Against Kilmarnock we weren’t out-played, we weren’t passed off the park. They just did the basics a hell of a lot better than we did.
“And to play in an environment like this, at a big football club, you need to have courage. And I don’t think we’ve shown enough of that this season.”
When Goodwin was named manager in March, there was no opportunity to make signings which might have helped their survival bid. Without a transfer window he was left to work with a squad who had failed miserably under Ross and Fox before him.
And the 41-year-old Irishman is convinced that’s had an impact on them going down because he knows exactly what areas had to be strengthened ahead of a relegation dogfight.
Goodwin said: “I wouldn’t like to go public and tell people where I would have fixed it. But it’s pretty obvious to everybody out there that we have conceded too many goals. That’s not just always down to the goalkeeper. That’s as a backline who are not aggressive enough and as a unit not disciplined enough in key moments.
“And you can’t legislate for individuals making decisions at key moments. It’s a pressure situation we were in and we didn’t stand up to it. We didn’t show enough character. We weren’t brave enough on the ball.
“People talk about bravery as getting stuck in and putting your head in where it hurts. But it takes courage to get on the ball in situations where there is a lot of anxiety. That’s where you want your big players to come and get on it. We haven’t done that. On Wednesday night we played into Kilmarnock’s hands. They deserved to win but, by God, we didn’t half give them a helping hand.”