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News: Hartley Calls On Players Not To Dwell On Derby Defeat


TheDarkBlues

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Dejected Dundee boss Paul Hartley insists he will not shirk one of the toughest challenges of his managerial career to date after the derby disaster at Tannadice.

Picking his side up after a confidence-shattering 6-2 loss at the home of their fiercest rivals will be difficult enough, but Hartley is already focused on evoking the appropriate reaction from his players when they host Ross County on Sunday.

It was a dismal New Year’s Day all round for everyone associated with the Dens Park club as their near neighbours ran riot, and it now means Dundee have gone seven league games without a win.

But although Hartley was clearly hurting after yesterday’s setback, the manager says there is no time for his players to dwell on the defeat.

“For myself and for the staff, this is as tough a time as I’ve gone through,” he admitted.

“But it’s about how we get out of it, and the way to get out of it is hard work and trying to get reinforcements in.

“I think we definitely need a couple in over the next month and I think we just need a little bit more quality to freshen the squad up.

“I understand we’re going through a difficult spell just now, there’s no two ways about it.

“As a team and as a staff we’re a wee bit low in confidence and it’s going to be about how we can pick ourselves up.

“We need a big reaction and I need to try and pick a team that will win the game on Sunday.

“We’ll need to be up for it, that’s for sure, but I’ll be working on a team that needs to get a result on Sunday against Ross County.”

Losses to United are always difficult for Dark Blues fans to cope with, but Hartley admitted the manner of his side’s third derby defeat of the season was most galling.

“It’s a hard one to take to be honest with you,” he continued.

“We were too easy to play against.

“We had some chances but defensively as a team we were far too open as a team and they got their goals too easy.

“We didn’t give ourselves a chance because when you start the game you want to try and feel your way into it and be solid, but we lost a goal within a minute.

“We came back into it and had a wee spell where I thought we were OK, but some of the goals we gifted them was disappointing for us.

“I thought we did OK until we got the goal, but we just switched off.

“We know their key players, we’ve been working all week on it and showing them the videos of Mackay-Steven and Ciftci and these guys, but we just didn’t cope with their attacking threat very well at all.

“We had a great backing from the fans and I think it’s always tough to lose any game but the derby games are the ones they look forward to more than anything else.

“It’s obviously one to start the New Year and it’s one where we’ve not given them anything to cheer about.”

Hartley refused to single out debutant goalkeeper Arvid Schenk for all of the blame, but he acknowledged the loss of Kyle Letheren with a thigh injury in the warm-up as a contributing factor.

“It upsets your plans,” he went on.

“You work all week with the team that you pick, so to lose Kyle in the warm-up – and it’s not the first time that’s happened this season – does upset you.

“The goalkeeper had a difficult afternoon coming in and was really thrown in at the deep end.

“But we’ve got to look at ourselves as a group of players and as a staff to see where it went wrong.

“Arvid has had a difficult debut but we have to look at what we can do for the game on Sunday.”

Hartley revealed that keeper Scott Bain may have to receive a pain-killing injection on his injured shoulder to play against Ross County if Letheren is unavailable, although he did not rule out having to pitch Schenk back in again.

“I don’t know because Arvid came here as the third choice keeper and we’ve only re-signed him for another month because we thought Bain would be out for another couple of weeks,” he concluded.

“We’ve got to look at the situation over the next day or so, but if he plays he’s got to show the strength of character that’s needed.

“He had a bad day, not that I mean the blame is all down him, I don’t mean that.

“He had a tough afternoon but we’ve got to look at today’s performance as a team and at how we could have avoided the goals.”

Source: The Courier

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