Soccer

Jim Goodwin knows strengthening Dundee United’s defence is vital

Jim Goodwin wants major changes in his defence (Steve Welsh/PA)
Jim Goodwin wants major changes in his defence (Steve Welsh/PA)

Boss Jim Goodwin insists strengthening Dundee United’s defence is imperative if they are to bounce back from the bitter disappointment of relegation.

United’s defensive frailties were evident again as Motherwell battled back from behind to claim a 3-2 win at Fir Park and condemn them to the drop.

“I think the game pretty much summed up the season to be honest,” said Goodwin.

“It culminates what has been a disastrous season defensively from start to finish and that’s something that I now need to look at going forward to make sure we bring the right types of defenders in.

“Defenders who enjoy the art of defending, enjoy putting their bodies on the line, take pride in keeping clean sheets and that’s where my first port of call will be in terms of the recruitment side of things.

“Dundee United in the Premier League is an attractive proposition for any player, Dundee United in the Championship, maybe not so much for some of the high-calibre players that you would like to bring to the club.

“We’ve got decisions to make, but what I need to make sure is the type of players that are coming in during the summer have the right characteristics, right mindset and can handle the level of expectation at such a big club.”

Goodwin remains hopeful he can retain the services of Steven Fletcher, who netted his 10th goal of the season in the defeat to Well.

The former Scotland striker still has a year remaining on his contract, though there has been speculation that he will depart the club following their relegation to the Championship.

“I had a brief conversation with Fletch last week, just to see where his head was at and what the future might hold for him,” added Goodwin.

“He’s a player that I would love to hang on to, if you had 11 Steven Fletcher’s on the pitch then you certainly wouldn’t be sitting in this position and talking about relegation.

“Fletch is the one that is holding the cards at the moment, he is under contract, and I would love him to be here to help us bounce back up, but we have to give him a bit of time to decide what he wants to do.”

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell is hoping to build on the momentum gained from an incredible finish to their league campaign.

The Steelmen have lost just two of their 14 league fixtures during Kettlewell’s tenure – something he is keen to continue when his players return for next season.

“It’s obviously massive for us, that’s what we have to strive to do,” said Kettlewell.

“It’s not going to be easy; it’s going to be very difficult – there’s no doubting that.

“As much quality and continuity as I can keep within the group, I think it is evident that we are a pretty decent side.”

The Motherwell boss also again heaped praise on prolific striker Kevin van Veen, who extended his run of goals in consecutive games to 11 – setting a new Premiership record in the process.

“I have to pay testament to the run that Kevin has been on, it’s pretty breathtaking when you look at it,” he added.

“I know he’ll be disappointed not to get to that 30 mark, but if you are scoring 29 goals in this league you are doing something right.”