Scottish Daily Mail


But Deila won’t let weakened United threaten Treble bid


WHEN there’s the small matter of a domestic Treble at stake, s ympathy for your direct opponent tends to be in short supply.

Yet, just because Jackie McNamara can cause untold damage to Ronny Deila’s lofty personal ambitions in the coming fortnight, the Norwegian isn’t entirely oblivious to how bereft the Dundee United boss is presently feeling.

United are a club hurting from top to bottom right now. Since selling Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay- Steven to Celtic f or £2million in January, they’ve taken just one point from 12.

A period of mourning for the departed pair was entirely understand­able, but that predictabl­e rough patch is now in danger of ruining what could still be a memorable season.

Deila is all too familiar with McNamara’s current plight. Whilst manager at Stromsgods­et, the loss of promising players to bigger clubs was simply a way of life. Dispiritin­g though it was, he found great

This much is clear. Even devoid of Mackay-Steven and Armstrong — both of whom are cup tied for tomorrow’s game and next Sunday’s League Cup Final — United are a far better side than recent results suggest.

A month on from the admittedly crushing blows of losing two key operators, McNamara is all too aware that — like all of his predecesso­rs — the need to thrive even when the cash register is ringing isn’t hidden in the small print of the job descriptio­n.

Similarly, Deila gets the fact that competing for all three domestic trophies at this stage in the season simply comes with the package of his post.

A home defeat to St Johnstone on Wednesday was perhaps forgivable given the blizzard of games his side had trudged through lately but the fans will be less tolerant if Celtic come a cropper on Tayside.

‘We are disappoint­ed we didn’t get the win but we have to credit St Johnstone as they defended well,’ said Deila. ‘But I also feel I have to see a little bit behind the result. On Thursday, it was hard to do that because there are too many emotions but we have lost four times in the league and three of them have been when we have played a lot of games.

‘Hamilton was the last game before we had the national-team break. A little bit like now, it was three days after the Europa League when we had been home to Zagreb and the same with Inverness — that was three days after the Champions League qualificat­ion (against Maribor) and I changed a lot in the team.’

With Europe now a closed book for another season, Deila (below) will have fewer concerns about fatigue and individual game time in the coming weeks.

Now approachin­g the business end of the season, he will invariably play his strongest possible hand.

‘We haven’t won anything,’ he warned. ‘I never take things for granted. We just have to keep on winning.

‘We have to be positive. Everything is possible. We are the only team in the whole of Europe who has played in four competitio­ns — I cannot think of any others who were still doing that in February.

‘Because we are doing so well we have had so many games and they mount up. That is why it is so hard to reach our goals.

‘The Treble has been done only three times in this club’s history, so it is a very tough achievemen­t because all the games run into each other. ‘

For the first time domestical­ly since losing at Tannadice pre-Christmas, the Ronny Roar was conspicuou­s by its absence on Wednesday.

Which is not to say that, behind closed doors, there weren’t a few words spoken in measured tones.

‘I’m an emotional guy, so that can happen,’ Deila confessed. ‘I don’t shout because they do mistakes. I shout if there is a bad attitude. Then I get irritated because everybody should have a good attitude.

‘The easy things we have to do well but on the pitch people make mistakes and you never go after them. I have a longer perspectiv­e on things. Over time, you have to learn from your mistakes. In one game, you can’t. You have to give them the freedom to try.

‘I talk regularly with players. If they don’t have the commitment in training, I will take them in and talk with them so we have the same references. What is 100 per cent? What is good attitude? This conversati­on is going on all the time. If they are not 100 per cent there could be difference causes, different answers to why it is like it is.

‘That’s how you change. Get them to commit on things and you have to follow them up all the time.

‘Are you doing what we are saying? Are you coachable? Is it going the right way?’

The midweek reverse didn’t prevent Peter Lawwell musing that, on results so far, he would award his manager an eight out of 10. And yet, as many a man who has sat in Deila’s chair down the years will concur, it’s the gathering of silver pots and not platitudes on which Celtic managers are judged.

‘From the first day I came into this room, you could f eel the demands,’ Deila said.

‘So there is nothing new. You have to focus on your task on the pitch every day. If you do that well, you have to forget results. Results will come because of good processes. The players are good at that.

‘I know they are very hungry to bounce back on Sunday.’

 ??  ?? Fever pitch: Thompson gets a kick out of United’s new training facility
Fever pitch: Thompson gets a kick out of United’s new training facility
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom