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Sporting director Tony Asghar believes Dundee United are equipped to remain on their “upward trajectory” even though he admits it will be a “challenge” to eclipse last season’s fourth-place finish in the cinch Premiership.

The Tannadice side won promotion from the Championship under Robbie Neilson two years ago, were ninth in their first season back in the top flight under Micky Mellon, and then secured a return to European football under Tam Courts last term.

Now new boss Jack Ross – who was appointed this week as successor to Hungary-bound Courts – has the remit of trying to establish United as regulars in the upper echelons of Scottish football.

“This club has been on an upward trajectory for three and a half years since (owner) Mark Ogren bought the club so we understand there is – not a pressure – an expectation to get as high as we can,” said Asghar.

“Jack knows that and I know that and we’ll be doing everything we can to be successful.

“We’re only just starting to build here. It’s only been three and a half years since Mark came in and there’s still a lot of building to do.

“We’ve done well and got to fourth, and we’ve maybe overachieved in a lot of things we’ve done, but Jack’s come in and is already talking about ways he wants to improve us and that excites me.

“We know it’s going to be really challenging but we’re not resting on our laurels and that will hopefully show in our recruitment and how we go about our business.”

United will compete in Europe for the first time in a decade when they enter the Europa Conference League in the third qualifying round in August.

“It’s really exciting,” said Asghar. “One of the big positives is that by finishing fourth, we don’t have to play any European games prior to the league campaign starting.

“We’ve seen in the past with other clubs that it can take a lot of your resources if you play before the season starts. Allowing us to go in after our season starts is really beneficial.

“We’re really excited. Dundee United fans have waited a long time to get a European tour so hopefully we can stake a claim in the qualifying round and progress as far as we can.”