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Stephen Robinson frustrated by Motherwell’s search for ‘perfect goal’

Motherwell v Dundee United – Scottish Premiership – Fir Park
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson felt his players were naive in their defeat against Dundee United as they drew a blank in their search for a “perfect goal”.

Allan Campbell and Christopher Long headed over from good chances but the home side generally struggled to create clear opportunities at Fir Park.

They were consigned to a 1-0 loss when former Well defender Mark Reynolds converted Luke Bolton’s low cross in the 52nd minute following a half-cleared corner.

After a second 1-0 defeat of the Scottish Premiership season, Robinson said: “Listen, I’m dealing with young footballers who are naive.

“We had loads of possession, dominated the game again, but no end product.

“How many times did we make the goalkeeper work? How many balls did we put in the box when we had opportunities to? Not enough.

“It has to be the perfect goal at the moment, it has to be total football.

“We brought Jordan (White) on only for me screaming at the sideline to hit him, we had two up front and then you have to change your game and start gambling.

“It’s a little bit of inexperience, a lack of a team being streetwise.

“They put one ball into the box from a second phase of a set-play and they score.

“There’s a lot of lessons and they need to learn them very quickly and I’m determined to do that.”

United boss Micky Mellon praised his team for stepping up after frustrating their hosts in the opening period.

“We are well aware we are in a transition, that the asks will be tougher when you come to places like Motherwell than what they faced last year,” he said of his Championship winners.

“But the players are attacking it brilliantly well. We understand the players need to train at a certain tempo to get used to this level but the players are doing that terrifically, for now.

“I am not going to show any lack of respect by saying we didn’t believe we could come here and make some sort of impact against a really good Motherwell team, because we have good players. Now it’s probably now just a wee bit of belief.

“We showed a wee bit more control second half at a really tough place.”

United sealed their first Premiership win in four years without striker Lawrence Shankland, who could return against Hibernian in midweek.

“There’s a better than even chance Lawrence will be all right,” Mellon said. “He has aggravated a wee bit of an ankle knock that he’s had for a wee while but we are very optimistic that he should be OK for Tuesday night.”

Motherwell announced before the game that an unnamed player was self-isolating for 10 days after what is believed to be a false positive from a Covid-19 test.

“He’s had two negatives since,” Robinson said. “We have been ultra cautious. It’s just something we have to live with now.

“We are doing every single protocol. If the Scottish Government make it clear what rules any of us at Motherwell have broken then we will adhere to them fully, but we certainly haven’t.”