Manager on ThursdayThursday, 11th Jan 2018
11/01/18: AJ - "You need to be at your very best to get a result against United."
Manager Allan Johnston expressed his surprise at Saturday`s opponents Dundee United`s defeat to Falkirk last weekend:-
"Dundee United have a lot of good players, they have strengthened their squad in January and brought in some good players. I didn`t see that one coming to be honest and Falkirk scoring so many goals.
"It probably just shows you that you cannot take anything for granted in this league. It is really difficult to predict the scores and there is not much between all the teams, even the top teams and the teams near the bottom."
Having not won in the last eleven meetings, AJ felt that Dunfermline are due a result against United.
"They always seem to have a hoodoo over us so hopefully we can put that right by getting a result especially when we are at home.
"There has not been much between the two teams but you need to be at your very best to get a result against United.
"You cannot afford any passengers, everybody has to play at the very best they can play because when you look around their whole squad they have a lot of good players. They have brought in Craig Slater who I know really well from my time at Kilmarnock. He is a top young player.
"It is going to be a tough game but one at home and that should give us a big advantage with the crowd that we bring and the atmosphere at the game as well."
After three wins in a row and two clean sheets the manager remarked on the effect of that:-
"It is amazing the difference a result makes to confidence and the belief that they can get clean sheets with expectations that we can win the game."
Viewing the upcoming fixtures AJ discussed the tough fixtures ahead with the next two home league games against the top two in the Championship:-
"They are important fixtures and there is nothing better than starting that off with a win against United."
After a good home performance against Falkirk the manager felt that it would be unfair to alter the starting eleven even though captain Callum Morris was available having served his one match suspension.
"It was just one of those things. It was a clean sheet, a good performance and so you have to keep the same team. He just has to work hard to get back into the team."
Agreeing that this was a `good` problem for him, Allan attributed that to the quality of his players:-
"Hopefully that takes us up another level with that added bit of competition. It adds extra to people`s games. With Lee Robinson coming in as well it is a bit of a catalyst. Clean sheets are massive in this league, if you are going to have any chance you cannot afford to lose a lot of goals.
"In the last game against United we lost too many soft goals and we know that we let ourselves down that day. Hopefully we can improve on that performance and get the result for the fans."
Jean-Yves M`Voto is the player who has taken the skipper`s place in central defence and his presence in the opposition box has also created welcome threat:-
"He is like a magnet, the ball seems to be attracted to him in the box. Hopefully he can get his head on the end of one at the weekend and get us a goal from a setpiece. Sometimes it is about the delivery, it has to be pinpoint and when you have someone with his power attacking the ball you have a real chance of scoring a goal from a setpiece."
The captain`s armband has been worn by Nicky Clark in Callum`s absence and the gaffer felt that had spurred his striker into good performances:-
"I thought he had one of his best games against Falkirk. Sometimes that added responsibility improves their game. I knew that he could handle taking the armband."
Asked about player availability AJ admitted to some of his squad succumbing to the winter viruses currently doing the rounds.
"I`m sure that we will not be any different from the majority of teams. There is a lot of it going about everywhere just now but by the time the weekend comes I imagine everybody will be fit and desperate to play."
Any progress on signings?
"We are trying, we working on it. There is nothing imminent but there is people that we are talking to, clubs we are talking too and hopefully we can soon get something over the line."