Published: 2nd July 2023
Jim Goodwin spoke to DUTV following our first pre-season run out.
The Terrors took on East Fife yesterday afternoon, starting our pre-season with a 3-2 victory at The Dundee United Training Centre, St Andrews.
Speaking after the match, the Gaffer touched on the importance of building momentum, a tough training regime and looking ahead to a packed-out July.
“It’s always a very important part of the season in terms of getting the fitness levels up. The players have been brilliant in the last ten days and have worked really, really hard” said Goodwin.
“Today was the perfect opportunity for each player to get 45 minutes. It is still very much a fitness exercise albeit you want to try and implement some of the tactical elements alongside some of the stuff that we have been working on during the week.”
THAT WINNING FEELING
Kicking off our pre-season with a win was key for Goodwin who highlighted, “We want to get used to that winning feeling.”
“We scored some good goals and possibly could have scored some more as well. We hit the woodwork on a couple of occasions and then the East Fife goalkeeper made one or two very, very good saves in the first half. There were decent individual performances and a good opportunity for the new guys to get playing with their new teammates."
Our first test of the 2023/24 season presented an opportunity for a number of our Academy graduates to stake their claim, with Rory MacLeod and Chris Mochrie both adding their names to the score sheet.
“We’ve had quite a few of them (Academy graduates) up training with the first team since we've came back.
“It gives me a good opportunity to really run the rule over them and I'm glad to see that one or two of them have really taken their chance - not just with the goals but in the last ten days, a couple of the players have really stepped up, which I'm very pleased about."
After coming in at the tail end of the last campaign, this summer offers Goodwin the first real chance to embed his ideas on the training pitch.
“I think any player will tell you it’s been quite tough. Every squad out there is getting pushed and pushed and the demands are always quite high at this time of the season.
“I’m delighted with the fitness levels so early on. The players clearly haven't had a long break, so they haven't deteriorated a great deal. The most important thing for me is that we go into the season and the competitive games come around, we have to be ready.
“It’ll still be a couple of weeks until the boys are really at their peak levels of fitness - it'll be one of the toughest pre-seasons I imagine that the boys will experience. But a high level of fitness is crucial now in the modern game.
“Pre-season is the perfect opportunity for any manager to really bed down their tactics and the key principles that we look for, whether we're defending or attacking. And as I said, the fitness levels are massive, but the boys have applied themselves really well over the last ten days. There's a great attitude and great camaraderie within the group, which is always key.”
“Gradually as the weeks go by, we’ll put different demands on the players and the intensity levels of training week by week will increase. But hopefully, everybody comes through this afternoon's game with a full bill of health.”
Summer signings Ross Docherty, Liam Grimshaw and Kevin Holt were all involved yesterday afternoon after joining the club this summer.
“They’ve all settled in brilliantly. They are three very good characters in the dressing room, three leaders who set good examples in training and put demands on each other as well as their teammates. It feels as if they've been here for a lot longer than just ten days.
“The guys that are here have been very welcoming to them as well and helped them settle in all that bit quicker.”
United begin the hunt for the cinch Championship title with a Friday night trip to Arbroath at the start of August, but Goodwin is fully focused on the competitive matches that come thick and fast throughout July.
“We’re very excited. Obviously, it becomes more real if you like, when the fixtures are finally out there and you can plan for the season ahead.
“We're not thinking too far ahead to the Arbroath game yet, we have to focus on the League Cup group stage first and we've tried to think along those lines with regards to the friendlies that we've organised.
“The game this afternoon is a similar game that we're going to face when we play the likes of Peterhead in the League Cup game. We’re trying to make the guys visualise what those types of games look like and I thought today was a really good test. East Fife will do well in their own league I think I think they'll be up there competing for promotion. They have some very good young players in our team and some good experience.
“I think today was a good test for us given we've only been in training for ten days.
“There's lots and lots of stuff for us to improve on, but in terms of the attitude and the application that was there from the players, that was the most important thing for me today and the messages that we've been giving them over the course of the last ten days is actually they've taken those messages on board.”