'We couldn't handle it' - Aberdeen's honest assessment after being stunned by Dundee United
It would be fair to say that Aberdeen did not see such a catastrophic defeat by Dundee United coming.
Andy Considine, Dons captain for the day, assumed the responsibility of speaking to the media after losing 3-0 to their New Firm rivals and exiting the Scottish Cup. He spoke honestly and was clearly crestfallen. Aberdeen had huge ambitions of reaching Hampden, and while he did not know it while speaking in the Sir Alex Ferguson Lounge, not having Rangers in the last four will have rubbed even more salt into the wound.
“I would say so,” responded Considine when asked if he was stunned by the outcome of the match. “Having Dundee United at home, I was more than happy with. I couldn’t see any result other than us going through. I felt since Paul [Sheerin], Barry [Robson], Simmy [Neil Simpson] and now the manager [Stephen Glass] coming in, confidence has been high. We’ve played some entertaining football.
“I’ve felt that, especially over the last two games, that confidence was good in the squad, training was good. So I felt really confident going into the United game, but it just seemed to be a bridge too far for us with three games in a week. I just felt that we lacked a little bit of energy.
“They came at us from the get-go. I felt we started the first and second half well, but they were clinical with all three chances that they had.”
Considine admitted that Aberdeen’s offensive tactics, with four attack-minded players in Florian Kamberi, Matty Kennedy, Niall McGinn and Callum Hendry in their team, left them exposed to United’s energy. While Glass wants his team to play expansive football, they were unable to reach anything close to the required level.
“The style of play that we’re obviously trying to achieve is to play through the thirds, it does leave you open,” the defender continued. “As a team, we need to react and we need to get back into our defensive shape quicker than what we did against United.
“We looked stretched, we looked open, every time that we did lose the ball up front, we just seemed to be miles away from our midfield. Between our backline and forwards, it just seemed to be too much. It felt like a recovery run every time for the back four. To be fair to Dundee United, they had relentless energy and they ran us into the ground and we couldn’t handle it.”
Aberdeen will now regroup ahead of Saturday’s trip to Livingston, where a point will secure fourth place. Considine, however, still harbours hopes of catching Hibs in third, who they trail by six points with just three matches remaining.
“Third is still massive for us,” added Considine. “There is still an opportunity, having Livingston, Hibs at home, then going to Rangers. I feel we’ve done it the hard way a few times, and if it means we’ve to do it the hard way this year, then so be it.
“With football, you just have to knuckle down. There’s always a game round the corner where you can go from zero to hero or hero to zero. I know each and every one of those boys will want to prove everyone wrong.”
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