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Match Preview | Aberdeen v Dundee United

February 24, 2022 5:49 pm Author: Aberdeen FC
Match Preview | Aberdeen v Dundee United

 

Competition: cinch Scottish Premiership
Match: Aberdeen v Dundee United
Venue: Pittodrie
Kick Off: 15:00
TV Coverage: RedTV International, Virtual Season Ticket and Pay Per View. Audio Commentary is available to RedTV UK subscribers. Full information on how to watch Saturday’s game can be found here.
Post Match on RedTV: Full match replay available from around 10.00pm and extended highlights from midnight on RedTV.

Jim Goodwin sat down with the media for the first time since being appointed as Aberdeen manager as he previewed Saturday’s game with Dundee United and he also looked ahead to the homecoming of Sir Alex Ferguson. To watch the full pre match preview on RedTV, please click here.

“It has been a rollercoaster week or so from things getting agreed last Friday night, to meeting the players briefly before such an important game last Saturday against Motherwell. I was delighted with what I got from the players on the day considering the severe lack of preparation, with the lads not being able to train on the Friday because of the weather, the travelling and everything else that it entailed.

“It has been great not to have a midweek game this week and to spend some real quality time with the staff and the players and trying to get that message across to them. Each and everyone of them has been a breath of fresh air to work with. They are very open minded, willing to listen, willing to implement the ideas we have been asking them to do on the training pitch and hopefully, fingers crossed, you can see the evidence from that on the performance on Saturday.

Being Positive

“We have had a number of serious injuries to key players and we are still waiting on those players to come back into the squad. It then takes time to reintegrate them and to get their fitness levels back to where they need to be. Of the players that are fit there is enough there to make a serious impression on the league between now and the end of the season, it is as simple as that. It is not all doom and gloom, I said to the guys after the game and prior to the game on Saturday, I have not inherited a terrible squad of players or a club that is a shambles behind the scenes.

“There is a lot of positive things happening here. I have been blown away by the level of professionalism since walking through the doors at Cormack Park. The staff here are falling over trying to help you and making sure that you have got everything that you need. From that point of view, everything off the park is perfect. It is up to me and my staff and the players to make sure we get things right on the park. It is not going to happen overnight, all of these things take time and there is a process in place. We don’t want to overload the players with too much information so they can’t understand what we are asking them to do. For me, it is about getting back to the basics, it is about hard work on the training ground, it is about showing the fans on Saturday that level of commitment and effort is there first and foremost.

“Added to that we have got some real quality throughout the team. Fingers crossed that it falls into place for the weekend but there are certainty a lot more positives going on here than negatives.

This Weekend

“This is a very special weekend for the club, with the unveiling of Sir Alex Ferguson’s statue tomorrow. There is going to be a lot of excitement around the place on Saturday for the game. Hopefully that will generate a brilliant atmosphere and I am hoping the players will thrive off it. Dundee Utd are a decent side, they are in some good form themselves. They have only lost one game in six, they had a really good performance against Rangers recently. Tam Courts seems to have them well organised an playing some good football. We have to give Dundee Utd the respect that they deserve.

“We have got to focus on what we can do to them. We know that we have to be organised and compact out of possession, be aggressive when we don’t have the ball. In possession we have to play with that composure and that freedom and not be overawed by the occasion.

“You want to be playing in front of full houses every weekend, if you can’t handle that and you cant’ enjoy that, then you shouldn’t be at a club like Aberdeen, it is as simple as that.

Sir Alex Ferguson

“I am not going to sit here and compare myself to the great man, if I can have a career the tenth of what he has had as a manager then I would be hugely successful. I am very much my own man, but nobody needs to tell me about the traditions at Aberdeen. I have been watching football for a long time and I know the success that this club has been used to. One thing for sure is we can’t live in the past, we have to create our own moments here in the present.

“I had a brief conversation with a few members of staff down at Pittodrie, I went down to meet all the guys down there and we spoke about murals and putting pictures up and for me to have an input in that. I think it is really important to remind the current crop of players of what has happened and the kind of club that they are at so the younger generation, when they walk through the corridors, realise that they are at a club with huge expectations, huge ambitions and to make sure that their level of ambitions matches that. We want to replicate what the teams in recent years have done but we have to go and put our own stamp on things as well.

Team News

“The squad won’t be a great deal different from what it was last weekend. We have had one or two little knocks and niggles during training but it is too early to make an assessment on that and to make guarantee on who will or won’t be available. Scott Brown has made great progress this week. He obviously went off with a slight hamstring issue against St Johnstone, he has joined back in with the group and we will asses that over the next couple of days before making a decision on the match day and wherever he will make the squad.

“The long term ones are still improving all of the time and are doing their upmost with the medical team in the background to get back as quickly as possible.

Scott Brown

“The key thing in moments like this and from my experience as a player and a manger is to have honest dialogue and not to be shying away from each other. Myself and Scott have had open and honest conversations. St Mirren asked for permission to speak to Scott last week and he is at that stage in his playing career where he wants to get into coaching and management. He has been open and honest about that himself.

“We did the right thing as a club and did not deny him that opportunity. I think St Mirren have made a great appointment in Stephen Robinson. I think the experience for Scott in being in the boardroom and having those difficult questions thrown at him will stand him in good stead for the next interview process whenever that is. Once the St Mirren thing was finalised with Stephen Robinson, myself and Scott spoke again and he assured me that his mind is fully focused on being a player and being a really important player between now and the end of the season. We will asses the situation again in the summer. I think that honesty and transparency is vital.

Support

“I am well aware of the level of expectation at this club, I don’t need anyone to tell me that. I have had some brilliant emails sent to the club. I am not on social media so unfortunately I don’t see that interaction with the supporters but the media team here have passed on some very nice and supportive messages which is great to see. I am saying it is not going to happen overnight, I am not trying to buy time, I am just trying to be realistic about the situation.

“It is difficult for the players to get used to a different style of management in a matter of four or five days on the training pitch, it will take time. I am expecting a reaction against Dundee Utd on Saturday, it is as simple as that, there will be no excuses. We are going into the game to win.

Dundee United

“We are very respectful of the opposition, we know how difficult the challenge is going to be, they have got some very good players in their ranks themselves. The front two are very dangerous, Marc McNulty and Tony Watt, but they have also got some good experience with some of the senior players they have got. We are not going to fear Dundee Utd, anybody that is coming to Aberdeen in the future or anybody that is here right now, they just have to embrace the level of expectations, it is as simple as that, you can’t be in fear of it.

Getting Back To Winning Ways

“We know where we are, we know the task in hand, we know that the team is at the wrong end of the table, if we win on Saturday, we are right back up where we want to be in amongst that group that is chasing Europe. That is what my ambition is, that is what my hope is for the rest of the season. I don’t think that would be exceeding expectations at all, I think that would be a requirement for a club of this size.

“Making changes midway through a season is ideal for anybody. I have left St Mirren in a bit of a sticky situation and I am coming into Aberdeen in a key moment where you have got to try and make changes and try to make an instant impact on things. In an ideal scenario these big changes would be made in the summer where you have got four or five weeks to do your recruitment, and then you have got another four or five weeks of pre-season to really bed in your ideas. Right now it is a quick fix, it is about those short term objectives which are to try and maximise the potential of the squad, to try and get as many wins on the board between now and the end of the season and will hopefully enable us to compete for those European spots, it’s as simple as that.

Controlled Aggression

“The Aberdeen supporters will know me from playing against them in my St Mirren days. I always want my teams to be a reflection of what I am as a person first and foremost which is trustworthy, committed, loyal, a good team mate, supportive of the guys around me, passionate. All of those key buzzwords that you would want but for the way I was as a player for St Mirren, is the way I want my team to be for Aberdeen but the guys here are better than me as players.

“The commitment and effort and the aggression is a minimum requirement for any team at any level. We have got guys like Lewis Ferguson, good young guys like Ross McCrorie, they are far better players than I was ever in my day and they are the types of boys that I want to be building the football around.

“I am delighted that Ross has agreed to a new two year extension. He is the future of Aberdeen. We need to try and recruit more Ross McCrorie’s. If we had a midfield full of those types of players where the opposition know they are going to be in a game. Even if we are playing badly, on the odd occasion, which will happen, at least the opposition will know they were in a fight and had to work hard for anything they have got.”

“When I talk about aggression, I don’t want guys going in tackling above the knee and getting stupid red cards. When I talk about aggression I talk about getting close to people, not being passive, not being easy to play against and having a level of commitment that inspires the people around us. If I need to make changes then I make them. I am always honest, I am always fair. I don’t care if it is the youngest guy in the room or the most senior guy in the room, they all get treated the same way.”

Supporter Information

For full supporter information ahead of Saturday’s game with Dundee United, please click here. 

The Last Time v Dundee United at Pittodrie

Jonny Hayes and Christian Ramirez scored for Aberdeen when Dundee United came to Pittodrie on the opening day of the season.

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Dons have to settle for a point

February 26, 2022 4:59 pm Author: Aberdeen FC
Dons have to settle for a point

 

ABERDEEN 1 DUNDEE UNITED 1

SPFL Premiership

Pittodrie

Saturday 26th February 2022

Attendance: 18,719

Referee: David Munro

There was to be no late Fergie time winner for the Dons in front of their greatest ever manager, Aberdeen left to rue two glorious first half chances and a few half chances during the second period that were spurned as they registered a third draw in a row.

There were three changes for Jim Goodwin going into his first home game as Aberdeen boss. Scott Brown, Calvin Ramsay, Ross McCrorie and Jonny Hayes were all unavailable, Funso Ojo, Matty Kennedy and Connor McLennan, making his 50th start for the Dons, all coming into the side. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Jack MacKenzie were also ruled out, leaving Aberdeen with a five man bench.

Dundee United drew 1-1 with Rangers last Sunday and there was just one change to their team, Kevin McDonald replacing Calum Butcher, who dropped to the bench.

A packed house at Pittodrie enjoyed a special display in the RDS before Sir Alex Ferguson graced the stadium one more time to collect a special maquette of his new statue from Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack prior to the game.

It was the visitors who made the best start though. David Bates was adjudged to have pushed Harkes’ as he ran away from goal, the referee pointing to the spot as the forward tumbled to the ground, as well as booking Bates in the fourth minute. McNulty sent Joe Lewis the wrong way and United had the lead.

There was a misunderstanding between Bates and Adam Montgomery in the ninth minute, allowing the ball to drop in the box, Lewis swiftly off his line to clear up, Watt fouling in his eagerness to get the ball.

The Dons were gradually finding their feet and they were back on terms on 16 minutes. Ojo fed the ball out to Vicente Besuijen who drove in a fierce cross-shot. Siegrist was able to parry it across goal to the back post where Kennedy manufactured a clever backheel at goal, the ball having come behind him, Edwards only able to put the ball int o his own net as he tried to clear on the line.

It should have been better yet a minute later, Ojo squaring into Christian Ramirez eight yards out, but he got under the ball and spooned it into the Red Shed, a great opportunity missed. Aberdeen were getting plenty of joy down their right flank by now.

Lewis was in sharp action on 28 minutes, the ball dropping nicely for Graham 25 yards out, the Aberdeen skipper flinging himself to his right to paw away the swerving shot as the two sides remained intent on serving up an end to end encounter for the guest of honour.

Besuijen was presented with a chance every bit as good as Ramirez’s in the 36th minute. Kennedy went on a blazing run down the left before spearing a low cross through the penalty area. Besuijen was running onto it at the back post but leaning back, he blazed his effort over the bar when anything on target would surely have beaten the goalkeeper.

Levitt picked up an injury when stretching for the ball and was replaced in the 41st minute by Butcher.

McLennan had to have his wits about him to deny United on 44 minutes, diving in front of an attacker to clear Watt’s dangerous cross after Montgomery had been dispossessed.

HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 1 DUNDEE UNITED 1

Aberdeen were first to really threaten in the second half, a deflected Lewis Ferguson effort scooped clear by Siegrist five minutes into the half. A teasing McLennan cross on 56 came all the way through the six-yard box but somehow eluded everyone in red.

The second half was largely becalmed in the early period and the staccato nature of the game continued when McLennan limped off on 67 minutes to be replaced by Dylan McGeouch, Ojo going to right-back. With the game going into its last 20 minutes Ferguson and Butcher exchanged wild shots from distance at either end.

Better from Aberdeen on 74 when Ramirez and Besuijen combined to slot Ferguson in on the right of the box, Siegrist down to block the ball away. With 14 to go, Watt made way for Clark, Kennedy replaced by Teddy Jenks at the same time. Ferguson forced a better save from Siegrist almost immediately, low to his right to parry away.

Mulgrew was in the book on 79 minutes after a late lunge on Ferguson following a heavy touch in the middle of the park. Three minutes later, a Ramirez flick sent Besuijen away down the left, his low effort across the face of goal beating Siegrist’s drive but rolling agonisingly wide of the far post.

Siegrist had to deny Ferguson again as the Dons midfielder picked up a loose clearance and advanced into the box. He didn’t get quite enough power behind it and the United keeper saved with his legs. Barron was yellow carded in the 87th minute, McDonald then replaced by Freeman.  Smith followed him into the book moments later.

The Dons were keeping United penned in over this last quarter, but the visitors got plenty of men behind the ball to deny any kind of space. Jenks wasn’t far away, trying to drag the ball back into the goal at the far post after getting on the end of a Besuijen cross.

Montgomery was the next to hit the turf as the game went into added time, Michael Ruth coming on as the loanee limped away, the game ebbing away with him.

ABERDEEN: Lewis, McLennan (McGeouch 67), Gallagher, Bates, Montgomery (Ruth 90+3), Barron, Ojo, Ferguson, Kennedy (Jenks 77), Besuijen, Ramirez.

Subs not used: Woods, Milne.

GOAL: Edwards (og) (16)

BOOKED: Bates, Barron

DUNDEE UNITED: Siegrist, Edwards, Mulgrew, Graham, Smith, Harkes, McDonald (Freeman 87), Levitt (Butcher 41), Niskanen, Watt (Clark 76), McNulty.

Subs not used: Eriksson, Clark, Akinola, Meekison, Neilson, Mochrie, McMann.

GOAL: McNulty (pen) (4)

BOOKED: Mulgrew, Smith

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