Well what a weekend it has been for our great city. I must admit that watching the V&A coverage on Friday night I had a lump in my throat and a great sense of pride for Dundee. Fitting then that United managed to take all of that positivity and destroy it over 90 minutes of abject football.
Let’s set the tone for this review by saying first of all I’m sorry Laszlo, but time is up. The performance we all witnessed yesterday summed up exactly why you are not the man to lead us back to the Premiership and I would urge Mike Martin to do the right thing. The reality is that a sacking will probably not happen but a defeat next week to Falkirk would surely seal his fate. Yesterday was bizarre in the extreme in terms of Laszlo’s tactics, substitutions, post match insistence that we “dominated” Morton and for long spells he looked genuinely unhinged as he paced back and forth in the dugout.
Yesterday felt like a watershed moment for the fans too. Many have been incredibly patient with Laszlo but yesterday we heard the first chants for Laszlo to get sacked. Up until now this hasn’t happened but yesterday there was a definite atmosphere of this being the end. The paltry attendance (under 4000 United fans) must surely have Mike Martin worried and he cannot ignore paying customers who are now turning their back on Tannadice. This is a business at the end of the day and if we cannot attract people to the club then things have to change.
What was also glaringly obvious yesterday was the bizarre set of formations and systems used by Laszlo. We started with a 5-3-2 that quickly (and I mean in a matter of minutes) changed to a 4-2-3-1 but within that we had, every time we got the ball, Watson and Booth moving forward into almost central midfield positions. The players looked confused and unsure so the football became very disjointed and boring. Greenock Morton did not have to be at their best to compete with us and we had about 80 minutes of anti-football. It looked like Laszlo wanted to re-create some kind of ‘total football’ system but what we ended up with was something so bad it could have almost qualified as an abstract performance piece organised by the V&A to celebrate their opening.
We have not improved under Laszlo. He has had time, his recruitment and his staff but the players still look unorganised, lethargic and uninspired. If he behaves the way he does in the dugout towards them all week then I am certain that he has alienated players and it must make them feel uncomfortable the he starts losing the plot the way he does on match days.
Player Ratings –
1 – Matej Rakovan – Again the goalkeeper didn’t do a whole lot wrong and he kept us in the match late in the first half when Morton were clean through on goal. Flapped at one or two corners late on. 6
19 – Rachid Bouhenna – Despite giving away the penalty early on he actually had a good game and looks like a useful signing. 6
44 – Paul Watson – Forced into playing as a central defender, right-back, central midfielder and occasionally as an extra striker. Felt for him and he put his heart into everything yesterday. 6
4 – Frederic Frans – Similar to Bouhenna, he had a solid game and didn’t do much wrong. The defenders weren’t really the problem yesterday, it was everything in front of them. 6
3 – Callum Booth – Not a great first start for United. Forced, like Watson, to play in a number of roles but he struggled badly. 4
33 – Fraser Aird – I like Aird, he has a great turn of pace and a decent delivery. Unfortunately he wasn’t really involved because of the stupid system we played and because everything was going down the left-hand side. 5
5 – Adam Barton – A waste of a jersey yet again. Too soft, too slow and he thinks he is better than he actually is. One moment that summed him up was allowing a Morton clearance that was aimed straight at him to simply pass him by before then slowly jogging after the player who received it and then fouled him in the most lazy way possible, putting us in danger. A fraud. 2
20 – Christopher Rabitsch – Unlike Barton he actually tries really, really hard. Lots of energy and determination but he is let down by being incredibly limited as a footballer. 4
90 – Yannick Loemba – For the second match in a row he spent much of the time falling over the ball and slipping on the pitch. Really, really poor in the first-half, marginally better in the second. 4
14 – Pavol Šafranko – A proper footballer in terms of fighting for everything and actually putting his head and foot in where it hurts. Unlucky not to score in the first-half but nothing to work with after that. 6
9 – Craig Curran – He reminds me of Simon Murray. He does the chasing about but when it comes to actually being physical he doesn’t put his foot in or his body on the line. 4
Subs – 8. Fraser Fyvie – The only big positive from yesterday was the appearance of Fyvie. He instantly showed himself to be a better player than almost our entire team and everyone was delighted he got his goal. (6). 7. Paul McMullan & 11. Billy King – Despite everyone at Tannadice seeing that the system wasn’t working, Csaba Laszlo decided to wait until the 82nd minute to change things going forward. Both players should have been on earlier and he also made the mistake of taking off Aird rather than a defensive player. The two of them were badly let down by their manager.
Man of the Match – Not going to happen I’m afraid. I think I heard the sponsors giving it to Loemba but that was maybe because they just wanted to meet him. The only players I have a bit of sympathy for yesterday were Bouhenna, Watson, Fyvie and Safranko.
Up Next – We travel to Falkirk to face former manager Ray McKinnon. The fact is Falkirk have zero points on the board and a squad that is still very weak in places. So that’s – former manager – check, team with no points – check, squad that is very poor – check. We all know how this story ends…
Championship Results –
Dundee United 1 – 1 Greenock Morton
Ayr United 3 – 2 Falkirk
Dunfermline Athletic 0 – 0 Alloa Athletic
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3 – 2 Partick Thistle
Queen of the South 0 – 0 Ross County