The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Dundee United fell at the UEFA Cup quarter-final stage last night for a sad second year in a row. It has to be said this was not one of United's better displays. There could have been no faulting their effort or endeavour, but luck deserted them. In the last quarter of an hour the Taysiders put the Czech defence under immense pressure, but the brilliance of 'keeper Hrusk denied them with a succession of wonder saves. On top of that, United were a blatant penalty late in the game when Jakubec handled a Malpas shot and the Swiss referee waved aside the strong spot kick appeals. They primarily failed to get the goal breakthrough they required because wingmen Ralph Milne and Eamonn Bannon failed to carve the necessary openings. It was a night of bitter frustration and disappointment for the capacity 20,000 crowd at Tannadice for, on the night, Bohemians looked a very ordinary side.
Tonight is arguably the biggest in the history of the club and we are desperate to reach the semi-final stages. I feel the players who, particularly earlier in the season, have been superb and deserve further European success. I am, also, equally anxious to secure a semi-final p!ace to repay your magnificent support. Whilst I wouldn't disagree we start as favourites to beat Bohemians, I must repeat that we have to be conscious that European football is about prising open defences, not hitting long balls and hoping. The players will require your full vocal backing and patience to enhance our chances. Obviously at this stage of a European tournament class performances will be necessary from several players. Organisation and work rate will not be sufficient. Unfortunately Dave Narey who, for half the season was at peak form, is, by his own standards, going through a bad patch. At the time of writing Paul Stufrock is extremely doubtful, but he, too, has been suffering a lapse in form. Hopefully, Paul will make it, but irrespective of what it will require all the players, playing to their full potential to see us through. No doubt like most of you, I was satisfied with the end product following our latest 'derby' encounter, but not the overall performance. Our passing and general build up deserted us and our below par display almost gave Dundee victory. However, at the end of the day we have beaten our neighbours four times in four meetings (including the Forfarshire Cup) this term and that is the most important factor. Win, lose or draw either tonight or in the crucial League clash at Pittodrie in three days time, we must sort out the midfield department. Not enough responsibility is being taken in that area to dictate the game when we have possession of the ball. Only when the opposition have the ball are the midfield men showing the necessary fight but the two vital matches ahead rule out any immediate experiments. However, we must seek an improved midfield blend for, hopefully, the European semi-finals and a continuing League challenge.