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Derek McInnes | United Post Match

February 11, 2018 9:28 pm Author: AFC Media Team

“If we said before the game we’d score four goals again to get into the next round of the cup we’d have took that.

“We were worthy winners and our appetite and approach from the start was fantastic.

“The surface was difficult, so it was difficult to play with any real speed through the lines and when you try play through the air the ball was getting caught up in the wind. I felt sorry for both sets of players. The conditions and pitch weren’t conducive to playing a lot of quality football, but what we did have was some real quality moments. The goals in particular were fantastic.

“When you come up against a team who were as defensive as they were in the first half, which was surprising in a cup tie, and you thought they’d be more attacking with the level of player they’ve got, we had to work hard to get those opportunities.

PIC DEREK IRONSIDE / NEWSLINE MEDIA

“We were worthy, other than a moment of slackness, we were maybe worthy of more than a two-goal advantage at half time. I was really pleased with our work. The next goal was all important in the second half and we got that fourth goal and that then seals the result. At 4-1 we weren’t going to lose from there, but I think we were disappointed in the way we lose the goal. I think Shay’s tried to go on an overlap at 4-1 up and I thought it was a brilliant finish from McMullan who helped them when he came on.

“You see United in the last 20 as they’ve got some very good players with real quality and it surprises when you see them how far they are behind in their own division. For a while they were level on points when their manager took over and to have them so far behind is surprising. Credit to United, at least they tried and kept going. They never gave it up and they kept us on our toes. The game wasn’t straightforward, but I thought we were well worthy winners and fantastic in certain points in the game.

“It took Mackay-Steven a wee while to get going. I was trying to get him on the ball a wee bit quicker and he was trying to hold his shape and discipline and we were trying to work the ball out to him. I thought Gillespie dealt with him well in the first period of the game, but as soon as he got involved in the first goal at the back post with Rooney getting the ball over the line, he took the confidence from that. He scored a very good second goal when we robbed them in the middle of the park. We were pressing them and we had energy in the middle with Shinnie, Christie and McLean, who was outstanding. McGinn played his part in the goal and Gary get’s a couple of goals today. When we signed Gary, I remember saying how good a finisher he is. He gets into good areas and the way we play, we need our wide players to contribute and he’s up to eight or nine now. With him, Christie and McGinn they’ll all expect to get into double figures before the end of the season. It’s great when you’ve got those gamechangers who have the ability to go past players and can finish. It’s good to see him get a couple of goals and hopefully we get more of that between now and the end of the season.

“We put ourselves up there. I said before the competition started I felt there would be loads of teams that feel this is our year, especially now with eight teams left. There will be a few clubs and we include ourselves in that, who’ll be disappointed if they don’t win it. I feel we are a team that can go and win it. We need to use the experience good and bad of Hampden semi finals and finals. We visited Hampden four times last year and that’s invaluable for getting that familiarity of dealing with these types of occasions and hopefully we can get back there. It’s going to be a tough game for us as we know as Steve (Clarke) has got them going. Both teams will see that as a real opportunity to get themselves into the semi-final. It’ll be a tough game, but for us we came up against a formidable Celtic team. It was a special season for them and there was no shame coming up short in both cup competitions and in the league. We were second best to a very good side and it took until the 93rd minute at Hampden in the Scottish Cup final to separate us. I liked the attitude of my team that day and the attitude of the support. It felt as though we belonged in cup finals and we were getting used to the surroundings again. I just want to get back there again and hopefully we can go one better and bring the cup home.

PIC DEREK IRONSIDE / NEWSLINE MEDIA

“Sometimes as a manager you need to make your players aware of certain things, but when your players are aware of it then it’s more about the game. I know the motivation from my team is there anyway so if there was any added )motivation) it doesn’t do any harm. It wasn’t something I needed to mention because I can see from my players about how important the game was to us.

“When you saw Adam’s goal today he took a belt in the mouth before he got it over the line. As soon as the ball is there he’s on the move anticipating that the keeper or defender may miss it. He’s got a job to get it over the line, but he’s brave and good at anticipating like all good number nines. He’s the number nine striker that every manager needs in their squad. He can be the difference in getting those scrappy penalty box goals.

“Then you see the wide players. I think McGinn, out of the fourteen goals we’ve scored recently, McGinn has about eleven assists plus goals, so those stats show how important Niall is to us. Also, Gary, Scott Wright, Greg Stewart and Ryan when he plays on the wider area are so important to us and important for Adam. He was probably most pleased when McGinn came back.”

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