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Ian Harkes urges Dundee United to get back to basics

Dundee United v AZ Alkmaar – UEFA Europa Conference League – Third Qualifying Round – First Leg – Tannadice Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Ian Harkes believes Dundee United need to get back to basics after three consecutive defeats going into Saturday’s home game against St Mirren.

The 1-0 loss to Livingston in the cinch Premiership at Tannadice on August 7 tempered the thrilling 1-0 Europa Conference League qualifying win over AZ Alkmaar three days previously on Tayside.

However, last Thursday night’s spectacular 7-0 thrashing by the Dutch side in the second leg was followed by a 4-1 defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday which has turned the spotlight on Jack Ross’s side ahead of the visit of St Mirren.

Harkes is confident of a return to form if “good habits” are resumed.

The 27-year-old midfielder, who signed from DC United in 2019, said: “It is easy to forget about what we did well.

“The game moves quickly and it is on to the next game right away as always.

“But you need to remind yourself when you are having those tough periods that we are a good team.

“We did it at home a couple of weeks ago against a very good team so we know we are capable.

“We need to get back to those good habits and back to basics.

“Defending around the box, getting to people quicker, not (letting them) get shots off, blocking crosses, getting back to those kinds of basics.

“And on the other side, being better on the ball everywhere and getting back to that exciting football we know we can play.

“It’s a challenge. We have to stand up to it.

“We can’t fold, we can’t go inwards on ourselves, we have to stand up and show the leadership in the group.

“We have had the hard discussions, especially on the back of those last two games and now it is time to show we can come good in some tough moments. It is time to make a statement.”

Ross noted that former club St Mirren got their first league win of the season last week against Ross County with a narrow 1-0 victory.

He said: “There is very little between the majority of the teams in the Premiership and home and away games are difficult.

“Getting that first league win last week has given them that ‘up’.

“There has been a consistency about Stephen Robinson’s choice of system and personnel which means there should be no surprises.

“It is up to us to produce a performance against a good team.”

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