Captain Ryan Edwards spoke for everyone at Dundee United when he expressed embarrassment and shame over their 7-0 thrashing in the Netherlands.
United conceded five goals in the space of 15 minutes either side of half-time as they were brought crashing back down to earth following their 1-0 first-leg win over AZ Alkmaar in the Europa Conference League qualifiers.
Centre-back Edwards told DUTV: “I’m the same as everyone else associated with the club – embarrassed, ashamed, all the words you want to throw at us and what you can think of, it was that.
“It seemed like any attack was causing us problems, and coming from our own mistakes around the pitch.
“People’s families paid good money to come over and support us and obviously the fans as well came out in numbers.
“It’s hard to take – embarrassment, shame, everyone is feeling the same.
“To be five down at half-time was unthinkable and it will take some getting over.
“But we have got another game on Sunday, and it sounds cliched and boring and the easy thing to say, but it’s true, we have got to do something to get back to winning ways in the league.”
United travel to Tynecastle on Sunday to face Hearts after collecting one point from their opening two cinch Premiership matches.
Confidence took a pounding in Alkmaar with summer signing Mark Birighitti looking especially vulnerable in goal, while United still appear to lack a ball-winning midfielder to complement a talented group of players in the centre of the park.
Jack Ross stressed that he should be the subject of all criticism over their defeat – which was the joint worst in Scottish football history in European competition.
“It’s always my responsibility as leader of the group so any criticism that will come – and we should get that – should fall upon my shoulders,” the manager said.
“The players received every bit of plaudit and praise last week and they deserved it. But in terms of the criticism and frustration, aim it at me because it’s always my choices going into a game and my preparation.”
The former Alloa, St Mirren, Sunderland and Hibernian boss knows he faces a difficult task preparing his side for the trip to Edinburgh.
“You don’t get involved at this level without having that nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach just now,” he said.
“But it’s my job, and it’s been my job for a long time, to lift them and get them going. And they will be fine, they will be ready for the game on Sunday. Whoever is selected and whoever is involved in the game will be ready.
“But that should sting, there is no point glossing over it. They should hurt.
“But I would expect to see a reaction from a hurting group players. Usually when players are in that position they produce their best and that’s what we will need to do on Sunday.”
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