Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has blasted the club’s performance and apologised to fans after their “abysmal” 3-0 defeat to Motherwell.
United find themselves 13 points adrift at the bottom of the table after Tuesday’s defeat and Thompson warned the club’s players they have 13 games to “redeem their own professional reputations”.
“As Chairman of the Club, I would like apologise to all Dundee United supporters for the abysmal performance last night against Motherwell,” he told the club’s official website.
“The current position at the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership is wholly unacceptable. It is not where Dundee United should be under any circumstance.”
United’s rapid decline can be traced back to last season’s January transfer window when key players Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong were sold to Celtic just a month before the League Cup final.
A bonus row erupted when it emerged that Jackie McNamara was receiving bonus payments for the selling of players before Nadir Ciftci left the club in the summer. United got off to a terrible start this season and McNamara was sacked.
“The board and myself have made certain decisions in the last eighteen months which in hindsight were incorrect but were made for the greater good of the Club and with the ambition of maintaining our position at the top of Scottish football, something we have done successfully for the last eight years.
“This included supporting a playing squad that commands the third highest wage bill in the Ladbrokes Premiership.”
McNamara was relieved of his duties with the club second bottom with one win from nine games but their position has worsened since under manager Mixu Paatelainen.
“However, we have failed miserably on the pitch with only three wins in 25 league matches and an early exit from the League Cup.
“Performances such as last night simply cannot be tolerated. The current playing squad now have thirteen matches to preserve the Club’s premiership status and redeem their own professional reputations.”
Paatelainen insists Dundee United’s crushing defeat to Motherwell isn’t fatal to their chances of survival in the Scottish Premiership but described the performance as “simply unacceptable”.
United are 13 points behind 11th-placed Kilmarnock, with a game in hand.
If they win that then Paatelainen’s side need at least four wins more than Kilmarnock between now and the end of the season to ensure they don’t finish bottom of the pile and the Finn has vowed to keep on fighting.
“It is not over yet as we will not give up,” he told reporters.
“It worries me that my players did not show urgency considering what was at stake and I will need to speak with them. We spoke about the importance of the Motherwell game and put in a flat performance.
“I need to find out why that was and maybe a few of the players can’t handle the pressure and start panicking a little bit.
“I can understand the supporters are unhappy as that performance is simply not acceptable.”
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee thought it was an “ugly” performance but was relieved to get the win.