15 July 2023

Jim Goodwin bemoans ‘sloppy’ Dundee Utd as League Two Spartans claim shock upset

15 July 2023

Jim Goodwin rued a “very, very disappointing” start to the season as his Dundee United side came under fire following a humiliating Viaplay Cup group-stage defeat against League Two new boys Spartans.

More than 1,000 Tangerines fans packed into Ainslie Park hoping to see their team kick off the new campaign on a positive note after a demoralising season last time round that resulted in relegation to the Championship.

But there was more misery for United as they lost 1-0 to a side who were playing in the fifth tier last term, with Blair Henderson scoring the only goal in the 11th minute before Tony Watt saw a second-half penalty saved by Spartans keeper Blair Carswell.

“It was sloppy from our point of view,” boss Goodwin told BBC Scotland. “In the first half the build-up and the tempo was very slow.

“We allowed Spartans to get back behind the ball in numbers too often instead of playing the forward pass a little bit earlier. The second half was better, we had a bit more control.

“The problem is when you give lower-league opposition a goal advantage, they have something to hang on to.

“I have to give Spartans great credit but it’s very, very disappointing. The least we should be coming away from here with is a clean sheet.”

Goodwin and his players were subjected to a torrent of abuse from their fans at full-time.

“I think the reaction from the supporters is expected, it’s only natural,” said the manager. “It doesn’t matter what club you’re at, supporters expect you to beat lower-league opposition.

“Unfortunately today we came up short. There’s no glossing over the cracks from us. We’re still a very new team, it’s still early days.

“We just have to do better in the final third, which is the most difficult part of the game. We were getting into good areas but the end product, the quality of cross, just wasn’t quite there.

“They’re things that we will improve on. We’ll work hard to get it right for Tuesday (at home to Partick Thistle).”

Goodwin was determined to keep things in perspective, adamant that the shock defeat will not prompt him to make any drastic changes to his plans for the campaign ahead.

“It’s the first game of the season,” he said. “Of course we wanted to start on a positive note and it’s extremely disappointing to lose the game but it’s very early days.

“The supporters have got every right to show their frustration at the end, we’re all disappointed with the outcome but we’ll work harder to make sure we get things right in the future. It will take time but we’ll get there.”

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