United slumped to second-bottom after suffering a fourth straight league defeat at home to Kilmarnock last weekend to turn the heat up further on Jackie McNamara’s side.
The loss at Tannadice came on the back of defeats by Hamilton, Celtic and Ross County and allowed Kilmarnock to leapfrog them, prompting a small section of fans to turn on manager McNamara. United must now lift themselves for Saturday’s clash with Inverness Caley Thistle and assistant manager Donnelly, who was brought to Tannadice alongside McNamara by chairman Stephen Thompson in January 2013, has pledged to work to end the early-season malaise.
“Unless we’re told differently, we’ve to go on and do our job,” Donnelly said. “It’s our job to go and try to get results. That has never changed so we’re fully focused on that. It’s him [Thompson] who’s brought Jackie and ourselves in and I think he has the faith in us. I think he’s shown faith in us by allowing Jackie to get on with the job up until now. We’ll get the boys ready to go again.
“We’re not daft. We know we need results. That’s the thing. I can sit and tell you how good the players are and how well they’ve competed and played at the weekend. But if we don’t get the result, then it doesn’t matter.”
United have come close to landing silverware during McNamara’s time in charge by reaching the 2014 Scottish Cup final and the 2015 League Cup final. Donnelly believes the club can challenge again for honours if they continue to receive the chairman’s backing.
“I think he’s shown faith in us by allowing Jackie to get on with the job up until now,” Donnelly said. “We’re going through a sticky spell but we think we can turn it [around]. I think any time you’re in a position like this, mental toughness is key.
“I don’t think anybody was hiding last weekend and I didn’t see anyone not wanting the ball.
“There was a lot of good stuff on show. You can’t legislate for missed chances. That is going to happen in football but once we get that result the boys will kick on and take confidence from it.”