Dundee United boss Mixu Paatelainen- Chairmans statement was aimed at me

Stephen Thompson branded United's performance in a 3-0 home defeat by Motherwell on Tuesday "abysmal" and claimed the players had 13 games left to "redeem their professional reputations" after falling 13 points adrift at the foot of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Ahead of Saturday's visit of Hearts, Paatelainen refused to state whether he agreed with Thompson's comments but stressed the Tannadice chairman was entitled to his opinion and that he and his squad were open to criticism.

"Obviously the chairman is the head of the club and is totally entitled to say whatever he wants, make a statement whenever he wants," he said.

"I don't think it's a surprise to anybody that he is not happy with the situation because none of us are

The players are not happy, the coaching staff are not happy, the supporters, the board

So it's not a real surprise.

"It's not for me to judge what the chairman says, at all

I just get on with the job

The players and coaching staff work together

We try to improve the team, performances and results."

For many, Thompson's statement undermined Paatelainen and the United boss was unaware of the content of Wednesday morning's update.

"He mentioned to me that he was going to put out a statement," he said

"I didn't know exactly the wording of the statement."

There was no reference to Paatelainen and Thompson admitted the board had made some unspecified mistakes over the past 18 months, but the manager put himself firmly in the same camp as his players

When asked if he interpreted the statement as "having a go" at himself as well, the former Kilmarnock manager said: "Absolutely

As far as I'm concerned we are in the same boat as the players

We work together

The coaching staff, the players, myself, we are together

"It's us who do the work every day on the training ground, it's us who prepares for the matches, it's us who go out there and do our best

It's a combined effort.

"We work together, we fight together, we win together, we lose together, we draw together, and improve together."

United were second bottom when they sacked Jackie McNamara, although they had slumped to the foot of the table by the time Paatelainen was appointed in October.

The anticipated lift did not come but the former United striker insists they have improved despite taking only nine points from a possible 45 during his reign.

"Of course we hoped there would have been quicker improvement, absolutely," he said

"It's not that simple to turn the ship

We knew at the time when we came in that there were problems

Unfortunately the ship hasn't turned as quickly as we wanted and perhaps anticipated

"There are many reasons for it and I won't list them in the media

We keep them in house.

"The last few weeks' results and performances have been better

Tuesday was a setback

There are always setbacks.

"If someone says there hasn't been improvement since we came in, I totally disagree with that

There has been big improvement, unfortunately the results don't show that."

Source : PA

Source: PA