Motherwell V Dundee Utd at Fir Park Stadium : Match Preview

08 November 2013 04:01
Motherwell V Dundee Utd - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Expectations no burden for Lasley

Motherwell captain Keith Lasley is comfortable dealing with greater expectations at Fir Park as Stuart McCall's team continue to challenge in the upper echelons of the Scottish Premiership.

Motherwell sit one point off second place as they go into the visit of Dundee United looking to claim their sixth home win in seven league games.

McCall's men have not yet attained the fluency of the team that finished last season in second place but they have not had the same consistency of selection.

And, with 22 points from 12 games, they sit six points better off than they were at the same stage last season.

Lasley told Press Association Sport: "It maybe took us a little bit of time to adjust especially with a big turnaround in players, so that was always going to be a transitional period.

"But if you look at our points tally, we are certainly up there where we were last year which is credit to the lads and the management.

"We have other teams round about us getting a lot of praise for being up there, the likes of Aberdeen. We are only a point behind them.

"I think some people maybe just expect us to be up there with our exploits in previous years.

"But we are just happy going along quietly and accruing the points that we can and hopefully further down the line we will still be in a decent position to challenge for that second place."

McCall had a heated exchange with a fan as Motherwell held on for a valuable 1-0 win over Hibernian on Sunday after a red card for Shaun Hutchinson followed injuries to fellow defenders Simon Ramsden and Steven Hammell.

The incident highlighted the pressure on Motherwell to live up to recent success, which has seen them twice finish the top side outside of Glasgow in two seasons.

Lasley, who first joined the club in 1999, said: "When I go back to my first spell at the club, second place in the league wasn't a realistic target. But the last few years we have given ourselves those expectations with the performances and results.

"I think it has its disadvantages and advantages. The advantage is that it's good to put some pressure on yourself because that is where we want to be.

"But I think people have got to remember, we have been out-performing other clubs with bigger player budgets. And it's up to us to try and keep doing it.

"Again it brings its own pressures but we have loved giving ourselves that opportunity over the past few years and we want to keep doing it.

"But we have had a decent start to the season, we are in the right area of the league that we want to be in and hopefully we can just carry that form on throughout the season."

Meanwhile, Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara is confident his side can win every time they play after seeing his players come together in recent weeks.

United last weekend came within moments of becoming the first Scottish Premiership team to beat Celtic this season until Charlie Mulgrew cancelled out Stuart Armstrong's opener.

The point followed a 4-0 win over St Mirren in their previous league game and consolidated United's place in the top six. Now, they are looking to cut a five-point gap on Motherwell.

"Stuart likes to set up his team to attack," McNamara said.

"They get a lot of crosses into the box and they have an aerial threat with (John) Sutton so we have to make sure we stop crosses coming in and do our job properly there.

"I think Stuart has done a fantastic job there. He has lost players but he has amassed a similar squad again. He seems to do it every year and I have a lot of respect for him.

"We have got ourselves in the top six and this is a chance to get three points closer to them.

"We feel confident we can win every game, which is good."

United have forward Nadir Ciftci available after he won his appeal against the red card he received at Inverness and saw a further violent conduct charge dropped, although he still faces a Scottish Football Association hearing over accusations he grabbed a linesman by the throat during a mass brawl.

Source: PA

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