SPL

Stuart Kettlewell admits Motherwell took advantage of poor pitch at Dundee

By Sports Desk April 06, 2024

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell admitted his team used the poor Dens pitch to their advantage to secure a vital 3-2 victory over Dundee in the cinch Premiership.

The game only went ahead after two pitch inspections at 11am and 1pm, with Dundee storming into a two-goal lead thanks to Jordan McGhee and Luke McCowan.

However, Motherwell made a dramatic comeback with Georgie Gent, Theo Bair and Moses Ebiye on the mark.

Kettlewell’s men were playing towards the Bob Shankly Stand in the second half and Kettlewell admitted that worked to their advantage.

The manager said: “Did we play on the conditions at that end in the second half? Yeah, that’s something we were taking into account.

“That goalmouth area, there’s a bit 20 yards out that isn’t good so we knew if we could get the ball into that area there’s the potential for slips, bad bounces that might fall in our favour.

“So we spoke about that and aiming towards it.

“Was it playable? When I walked on the pitch there were four or five areas I didn’t think were playable.

“Again I need to be consistent, I’m not going to change now.

“At no point did I speak to anyone or the officials from Dundee, I was prepared to let everyone do their job.

“I didn’t try to have an influence on anyone because we’d prepared to play here at 3pm.

“The referee felt it was playable and we were not endangering the safety of players so it was on.

“I have an opinion on a bigger scale of what I feel about getting to April and dealing with this.”

Dundee boss Tony Docherty admitted the result was a hammer blow for him and his players.

The Dark Blues were on course to secure a top-six finish with St Johnstone beating Hibs until the dramatic late collapse.

However, the manager was irate over the VAR decision that led to the penalty award for Motherwell’s first goal.

The 53-year-old said: “It’s a sore one. We’re really hurting.

“Obviously you don’t know others’ results at the time but we were 14 minutes from the top six.

“Goals change games and they get momentum from the VAR decision. I haven’t seen it back but nobody claims for the penalty.

“We were really comfortable at 2-0 so we should see the game out. Certainly the momentum swings on the VAR decision but I would trust my players to see that out.

“I won’t be critical of them because they have been brilliant all season.

“The one positive to come from the disappointing last 14 minutes is to see the league table and realise we still have an opportunity to do what we need to do.”

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Turkiye - Hakan Calhanoglu

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    Portugal – Vitinha

    Another midfield maestro had yet another impressive display in their Group F opener, with Vitinha completing more passes under high-intensity pressure (59) than any other player in the opening round of games at Euro 2024.

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    MATCH PREDICTION – PORTUGAL WIN

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    Montella will be keen to continue his 50th birthday celebrations when he returns to Dortmund on Saturday, with the possibility of equalling their most victories in a single edition of the European Championship (two in 2008). They have only managed more at a major tournament in the 2002 World Cup (four).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Turkiye - 17.8%

    Draw - 20.3%

    Portugal - 62%

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