Charlie Mulgrew admits every Dundee United player is going to have to do some “sore and painful” personal reflection in an effort to get back on track after a disastrous week.
The Tannadice side suffered a 4-1 defeat to cinch Premiership rivals Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday, just three days after their humiliating 7-0 thrashing at the hands of AZ Alkmaar in the Europa Conference League.
Veteran Mulgrew knows the results have been unacceptable and is well aware they need to snap out of their malaise in time for Saturday’s visit of St Mirren.
“We wanted to bounce back after midweek and show real character but we didn’t do it,” he said. “It’s a sore one.
“I’m not gong to make excuses, we’re all athletes, professional football players. We’ve had a pre-season and we’ve done enough to get to a level where we are fit enough to play two games a week.
“The players take full responsibility for what happened on Sunday.
“I think we all have to self-reflect. You look at yourself firstly and be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you’ve done enough.
“That’s what I’ll be doing. The answer will probably be, ‘No, I haven’t’.
“You need to pick yourself up quickly but it’s not easy. I’ve been here a good few times as a football player and it’s part and parcel of the game.
“It’s sore and painful. There are lows in football but you need to move on quickly.”
Mulgrew is confident that United have a squad of players equipped to put their dismal week, which began with a 1-0 home defeat by Livingston, behind them.
“I definitely think we’ve got the characters to help us move on,” he said. “There’s a lot of honest boys in there who will look at themselves and realise that what we produced as a group in the last two games wasn’t good enough.
“We’ve got a lot to do but football can turn quickly. We’ve got to get our heads together and show a lot of character for our next game.
“The fact we don’t have a midweek game takes one distraction out of the way and we can focus solely on St Mirren and be as prepared as we can. We have to make sure we’re at it and show a lot of character.”
As well as crashing out of Europe, United, who had high hopes at the start of the season, have taken just one point from their three league games.
Mulgrew is adamant it is too early for despondency or panic to set in.
“We’re just three league games into the season,” he said. “There’s still a lot of belief in there. We had some lows last year at various stages in the season but we picked ourselves up.
“We’ve got to go and pick ourselves up again and give the fans something to cheer about in our next game. Hopefully we get a result and we roll on from there.”