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The Manager | SC RD5 Preview

February 9, 2018 5:16 pm Author: AFC Media Team

“We’re looking forward to it.

“It’s nice to focus the attention on the cup and being at home we’re grateful for that. It’s a tough challenge. United, although they haven’t been as consistent as maybe they wanted to be in the league, they’ve still got a very capable side there. Having worked with a couple of their players and seeing the experience they have in the team and the options they’ve got in the squad, they are a team who are worthy of respect and we are wary. It could be a tough game for us. We’ve reinforced the message on our own part to make sure our performance levels are something we’re happy with. If we can reach our levels we’re capable of then hopefully we can do enough to cause them problems and get through to the next round.

“There’s not too many games left. Now you’re playing proper cup football and your either in it or out it and hopefully we can put in a performance that allows us to do that.

“It’s difficult to quantify the gulf. I think when we played St Mirren here a couple of weeks ago they were flying high in their own league and now looking firm favourites to win the title there, we were aware of their attacking threat. Having watched plenty of St Mirren you can see they’re a very capable side and likewise with Dundee United. I know the results haven’t always been there and there’s been a wee bit of inconsistency, but when they’ve been good they’ve been more than decent. A lot of players with experience will be wanting to make sure they come up here and give a performance they’re capable of. Willo (Flood) is somebody we know very well, and I’ve got such a high regard for Willo. Paul Quinn someone similar, although it didn’t work out as long for him, he was a brilliant boy to work with. Scott McDonald is someone I’ve always admired and respected and they’ve signed Grant Gillespie from Hamilton and you look right through their team and there’s more than a capable team there so if they all click and do well in the game they can be a good side.

“I don’t focus too much on the Championship, so it would be wrong for me to comment too much, but I think when you see the signings that were made and the potential their support-wise, you’d think they would be odds on favourites to go up with the squad they have. They’re not out of it yet as there’s a long way to go and getting over the finishing line is always the most difficult part. They’ll see it as an opportunity to still win the league and go up automatically, but first things first for them and ourselves is just getting through in the cup.

“I’ve never focussed too much on whether the opposition is in good form or poor form. I’ve always tried to make sure we focus on ourselves. When the game kicks off it’s still a game that’s eagerly anticipated with both sets of supporters. I’m sure United will bring a good support and we’re expecting 13,000 or so in the ground even though the game’s live on TV so once the game starts it will feel like a cup tie. There’s game to be won and I’m sure both teams will be looking to do that.

Pictured: Derek McInnes
(Photo: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media)

“We’re hoping to keep the form going. The last three results have been pleasing with plenty of goals and the quality of some of the goals as well. McGinn’s to McKenna’s to Mackay-Steven’s so we’re scoring goals and got the added positive of the clean sheet, which I was delighted with. Hopefully once we cross that line we can show our full potential and a strong team performance.

“Stevie May is back in training and the only player we have out is Joe Lewis so everybody’s fit and available. Stevie scored a couple of great goals today in training, which was great to see and great for him considering it’s been a frustrating time for him. He’s looking sharp and just delighted to get him back amongst the players. He’s been doing a lot of work on his own with the medical department and Graham Kirk, but thankfully he seems to have overcome his injury. We’ve been here before, but we feel this time we’re more confident to keep him with us now and get him back on the training pitch.

“I’m lucky I work with good players, who are really motivated to do well. They’ll be no hint of complacency or us thinking we just need to turn up. We’re well aware of the motivation and ability of the opposition on Sunday. While we try and prepare as normally as we do, we maybe do speak a bit more of the opposition because we don’t play them in our own league.

“I love cup football and I think we’ve got a decent return in the last four and a half years here. We’ve been in three cup finals and five semi-finals out of a possible nine so we’re familiar with that type of game. There’s an appetite to get back to the final and the intention is to win the tournament. We don’t make any bones about that. Whether that brings added pressure to us, but that’s where we are. We’re a good side, we have a good attitude to our work and we feel this is a cup we can win.

“We have a real appetite to be successful here, so we’ve got to have the confidence in ourselves that if we perform to our abilities we put ourselves in a position to win the trophy and that’s what we’re planning to do. First things first, without getting ahead of ourselves and there’s nothing wrong with looking at that end game at Hampden, but we’ve got a tough game on Sunday to negotiate and try get through to the next round.

“They’ll be loads of teams in the competition at this stage believe it will be their year this year. For us in Scotland and at Aberdeen this is a cup we feel we can win and we’ll be disappointed if we don’t. There’s only a few clubs in Scotland that can have that approach to going into a cup competition.

“We were second in every competition last year and were up against a formidable Celtic team who broke all records and the domestic record they set was there to be applauded. They were fantastic and there was no shame in coming up short to that level of opponent. You saw in the cup final over a 90-minute game you can bridge that gap and can be good enough to win a tournament. We’ve got to believe it can be our year.”

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