Dundee Utd V Motherwell at Tannadice Park : Match Preview

15 February 2016
Dundee Utd V Motherwell - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Mixu Paatelainen: Dundee United not a soft touch any more

Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen insists his players have proved they are no longer a "soft touch".

A run of three games unbeaten in the Ladbrokes Premiership has seen an improvement in United's performances, but they remain 12 points adrift as they prepare to host their nearest rivals, Motherwell.

Paatelainen has backed his players to show the fight needed at Tannadice on Tuesday night, after caretaker boss Dave Bowman had suggested they were an easy target back in October.

Paatelainen told ArabZone: "One thing is for sure, that we are not a soft touch any more.

"Every player out there is committed. Even the players who are not defensively gifted or minded, they put a shift in defensively.

"There is real effort to do well for the club and for the supporters and fellow team-mates.

"That is there, hence our results recently have been a little bit better. We want to keep that going.

"Unfortunately on Saturday we didn't win but we get ourselves ready for Tuesday. Hopefully, in front of our home supporters, we will take all three points."

Riku Riski is set to return for the Arabs following a bout of flu, but Callum Morris will miss out with a knee problem.

Mark McGhee admits he is on a "state of high alert" over their league position - but does not feel the trip to Dundee will be pivotal.

A 2-0 defeat to Kilmarnock sent Motherwell into the bottom two following a poor run of two points in six games, with McGhee admitting it was the poorest performance of his reign.

"It doesn't feel like a blip because we have got to find our way out of it," McGhee said. "I've got to say that I have not really felt any differently all through it.

"When we had a run at Christmas and people were saying: 'Can you now start to look up the way?', I kept saying no and people thought I was being clever.

"But I wasn't, I was being honest. I felt we were still in danger and that has been borne true by results recently that have got us back in it.

"So now we have to dig ourselves out again. I have always been in that state of high alert and not got complacent at any stage. But if anybody was, now they have to get real."

"We have worked very hard and prepared as best we can and what I have to do is convince them, regardless of what happened on Saturday, that we can go to Tannadice and win the game.

"I'm not sure, whether we win, lose or draw, it's going to decide anything. It's not. It's an opportunity for us to lift ourselves out of it but more important for me is the performance, because you can play really well and not win.

"But if we play really well at least we can go on to St Johnstone knowing that mentally we are okay and physically we are up for it. But if we go to Dundee United and play like we did on Saturday then obviously the alarm bells will be ringing."

Stephen Pearson will be suspended for the trip, but skipper Keith Lasley will take part after shaking off a shoulder problem and Ben Hall is expected to overcome a hamstring injury.

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