Mixu Paatelainen open to Dundee United & Shakhtar link

Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen admits the prospect of linking up with Shakhtar Donetsk is “luring”.

Dundee Utd manager Mixu Paatelainen said the prospect is "luring". Picture: SNS

The Ladbrokes Premiership bottom club have been approached over a formal relationship with the Ukrainian side, although Paatelainen stressed talks were at a “very early stage”.

“It’s nothing at the moment,” the Finn said. “We haven’t taken it any further yet but I must say it is a very luring prospect.

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“Shakhtar Donetsk are a major force in European football, they have fantastic players, both experienced players and young players.

“If there was a working relationship with a top club like Shakhtar Donetsk then I think that would be beneficial for the club.

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“The standard that Shakhtar Donetsk play at, they obviously require top, top players.

“They are in the Champions League regularly hence they look for players of that standard.

“If we can produce a player of that standard then Shakhtar Donetsk or anyone else would be interested in them.

“It would be great for our player to move on and play at a high level but it would be a two-way thing, I hope, not just one way.”

Paatelainen’s focus is on Wednesday night’s encounter with Hearts at Tynecastle after the gap at the foot of the table moved to double figures following the postponement of Motherwell’s trip to Tannadice on Boxing Day.

Hearts drew with leaders Celtic on Sunday but Paatelainen is quietly confident ahead of the game in Edinburgh.

“The players have the belief,” he said. “The belief comes from how they feel out on the pitch. They are really comfortable out there.

“They feel nobody opens us up; they feel we can keep a clean sheet; they feel that whenever we have the ball, we have plenty of passing options; whenever we keep the ball we create plenty of goalscoring opportunities.

“So the players feel very positive and they know it is there for us to obtain three points and, with a run, get closer to the pack.

“At the same time everybody realises where we are and we must be very humble and quiet and not too confident in the public domain.

“But within the group, we know we can do the job and climb up the table.”