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    As a Dundee player, right now it would be easy to make excuses for the post winter-break slump that’s seen defeats against St Mirren in the cup and Aberdeen in the league.

    For the Dark Blues, there is little doubt the January interval came at the wrong time.

    As they beat St Johnstone 3-0 in the last game before it, they were flying and probably would have preferred the next game to come as soon as possible and not three weeks later.

    And when the games did come round again, they were denied the services of skipper and influential defensive presence of Darren O’Dea.

    He’s had to sit out the last two matches because of cup and league suspensions.

    And while the displays against the Buddies and Dons were not good, luck has not been on Dundee’s side.

    In the cup-tie, Marcus Haber was denied by the crossbar and, with the scores still level, the same happened to Paul McGowan up at Pittodrie.

    On Friday night, what looked a dodgy linesman’s flag for offside against Haber also denied Craig Wighton what would have been the opening goal of the game.

    But when centre-half Julen Etxabeguren looks back at those defeats, all he sees are excuses — lame ones.

    And the big Spaniard is having none of it. He puts the recent woes down to just one thing — poor play by him and his team-mates.

    He knows that’s got to change if the team are to get to where they feel they should be this season.

    “We need more consistency if we are going to get better results,” he said.

    “We want to be top six and we can be top six.

    “If we are going to do that, we have to play the best way we can week in, week out. Just now it is not happening.

    “We cannot play so well against St Johnstone and then play the way we have against St Mirren and Aberdeen. We must sort it out, we have to.

    “We have two good games when we play well and get good results, then we have games like the last two and it is not good enough.

    “It is something we have to improve on if we want to be top six and if we want to have a good end of season.”

    Looking back to the Aberdeen defeat, the 25-year-old admits the fact Dundee lost to an in-form side, who consistently operate at the top end of the Premiership table, will not have surprised many people.

    His view, though, is there is a way to lose and Friday wasn’t it.

    “I think we started well but then we weren’t good enough and we didn’t show all the things we can do.

    “We didn’t turn up and it was a fair result — it could have been more!

    “I know we maybe should have had the first goal but on the pitch I was not able to see if it was offside or not.

    “If it had counted, it could have changed the game.

    “But it would be wrong to use that to say why we did not play well after.

    “We cannot use it as an excuse because it does not justify how we have played the rest of this game.

    “We were thinking at half-time if we score one goal we are back in the game but I do not think we even had one chance in the second half.

    “After it was 2-0, we never got close to getting back into the game and that is what we must change.

    “We know that Aberdeen is a hard place to go and you can lose games there because they are a very strong team.

    “That is a fact, but it was the performance that was very disappointing. We could have done much better.”

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