Jim Goodwin admits both he and his newly-inherited Dundee United players should be driven to “make amends” for their respective struggles this season.
Less than five weeks after being sacked by Aberdeen, the 41-year-old was appointed manager of the relegation-threatened Tannadice side on Wednesday on a short-term deal until the end of the season.
His media unveiling as United boss at their St Andrews base on Thursday also represented the first time he had spoken since his unceremonious exit from the Dons at the end of a humiliating three-game run that saw them lose 5-0 away to Hearts, 1-0 to sixth-tier Darvel in the Scottish Cup and 6-0 away to Hibernian.
Goodwin admits the job at Tannadice gives him the opportunity to prove to his doubters that the last few games at Pittodrie are not a true representation of his managerial ability.
“I’ve had plenty time to reflect and look back on the situation at Aberdeen,” he said. “Going into the World Cup break, everybody was very pleased with the situation, we were sitting third in the league and had a semi-final to look forward to.
“After the World Cup, we had two extremely difficult fixtures back to back with Celtic and Rangers and could easily have taken four points out of those two games but we lost a goal in the last three minutes to Celtic and two to Rangers in stoppage time.
“That (losing 3-2 at home to Rangers) was probably the turning point for us in terms of the confidence being knocked from the squad. We found it very hard thereafter to get the lads going again.
“I think it was one horrendously bad week that cost me my job at Aberdeen. We had a really poor performance at Tynecastle, got heavily defeated there.
“The Darvel game, of course, was a real shock to everybody and then following that up with the heavy defeat at Easter Road, I think it was inevitable what the outcome was going to be after that particular game.
“That one hard week at Aberdeen has cost me my job but I’ve been given the opportunity at Dundee United to make amends, that’s the way I look at it and that’s the way I want the players to look at it as well.
“I want to forget what has happened in the past this season, and I want them to focus on the next dozen games, restore some pride in themselves and this great football club.”
United are four points adrift at the foot of the cinch Premiership, but Goodwin – who described his latest undertaking as “a gamble” – is adamant he can lead them to safety.
“I had another opportunity two or three weeks ago to enter into discussions and I opted not to do that one but for this particular situation, with this football club and this group of players, I believe we can turn it around, and that’s why I’m here,” he said.
“It would have been very easy for me to stay at home and keep my feet up until the summer and wait until another opportunity came up then but I think this is a gamble worth taking.
“This group of players is far better than they’ve shown up to now. I think everybody looking in from the outside is scratching their heads as to why they’re in the position they are in, and it’s up to me now to try and restore some belief in them and get a tune out of them in the next 12 games.”
Goodwin – whose first game in charge is at home to Aberdeen on Saturday – has no issue with the fact his deal is only until the end of the season.
“It’s a situation we’re both very happy with,” he said. “I don’t think it would be right for the club to be offering long-term contracts to players or managers at this point in time.
“I’m quite comfortable with the situation. I back myself. It’s a fantastic opportunity.
“Having left Aberdeen, a big club in the Scottish Premiership, to four or five weeks later be offered the chance to come and manage another big club in the Scottish Premiership, it was too big an offer to turn down.”