SPL

Dundee boss Tony Docherty declines to get involved in Dens Park pitch row

By Sports Desk April 12, 2024

Dundee manager Tony Docherty kept his “laser focus” on Saturday’s trip to Pittodrie as he dodged questions about the Dens Park pitch and the controversy over the second postponement of their game with Rangers.

Docherty’s side will clinch a cinch Premiership top-six place if they beat Aberdeen and a draw would suffice if Motherwell get a result against Hibernian at Fir Park.

Defeat for Dundee would put off confirmation of the make-up of the top and bottom six until the game with Rangers finally goes ahead.

The match is now scheduled for Wednesday, but alternatives are being discussed between the clubs and the Scottish Professional Football League.

When asked what state the pitch was in following the latest call-off on Wednesday due to a waterlogged surface, Docherty said in a media conference: “I really don’t know. I’ve not been anywhere near the pitch. We are in the Gardyne training facility and that’s where I have been for the last two days preparing for the Aberdeen game on Saturday.”

Rangers accused Dundee of “negligence” after the postponement and Hibernian are reported to have complained to the SPFL given Docherty’s side may go into their final pre-split game knowing what they need to achieve.

The Dundee manager refused to get involved in the furore.

“In my capacity as football manager, all I can affect is my role as football manager and it’s incumbent upon me to make sure I prepare a team for the matches that are upcoming,” he said.

“So anything outwith that, I can’t affect other teams, I can’t comment on other teams, I wouldn’t comment on other teams.”

When asked about the prospect of facing Rangers at a neutral venue next Wednesday, Docherty said: “There is nothing I can do about that, I can’t affect that. I can affect the Aberdeen game and that’s where my laser focus is. Nothing can distract us from that.”

Dundee’s previous game against Motherwell was the subject of similar uncertainty and talks over alternative venues and dates before it went ahead following a late inspection last Saturday, the visitors winning 3-2 after Dundee went 2-0 up.

Docherty said: “Of course it can be unsettling because you prepare for every game. We have had five call-offs. You prepare for every game in terms of game plan, selection of players. But players quickly move on and I quickly move on. That’s gone now, that’s in the past.

“It’s incumbent upon me as manager to make sure there is a laser focus now towards the Aberdeen game and that’s what me, my players and my staff have got. The next game is the most important game and something that we are very focused on.

“It’s huge testament to this group of players, as the newly-promoted team and the youngest squad in the league… Seventeen of the squad have made their Premiership debut this season, of that 11 are under 21. It’s huge testament to the group that we are a win away from that (top six) and it’s advantage us because it’s in our hands.

“I need to give them great praise for that and I want to see them sprint across that finish line.”

Related items

  • Bologna 3-3 Juventus: Bianconeri hit back in Motta's job interview Bologna 3-3 Juventus: Bianconeri hit back in Motta's job interview

    Juventus scored three goals in eight minutes to complete a remarkable comeback and secure a 3-3 draw against Serie A's surprise package Bologna on Monday.

    The Bianconeri, who sacked Massimiliano Allegri last week, endured a nightmare start as Riccardo Calafiori and Santiago Castro propelled hosts Bologna into a 2-0 lead within 11 minutes.

    Matters got worse for Bianconeri interim boss Paolo Montero when Calafiori struck again eight minutes into the second half to put Bologna, coached by reported Juve target Thiago Motta, into a 3-0 lead, with the defender chipping the ball over goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

    Yet Federico Chiesa's 76th-minute effort kickstarted a stunning turnaround, with Arkadiusz Milik's free-kick soon after teeing up a grandstand finale.

    Kenan Yildiz was the player who sealed the draw, as Juve hit back against their potential next coach.

    The result left third-placed Bologna level on 68 points with Juve in fourth before the final matchday.

    Data Debrief: Three down? No problems

    For the first time in their history, Juve avoided defeat in a Serie A game in which they had been at least three goals behind.

    Chiesa was key to their comeback. Bologna are the team that the Italy international has scored the most league goals against in his career (seven in 11 matches).

  • Liverpool offer 'difficult to ignore', says Klopp's replacement Slot Liverpool offer 'difficult to ignore', says Klopp's replacement Slot

    Arne Slot said it was "not an easy decision" to leave Feyenoord, but ultimately he could not turn down the Liverpool job.

    Liverpool finally confirmed Slot as Jurgen Klopp's successor on Monday.

    Klopp signed off on his nine-year tenure in charge of Liverpool with a 2-0 win over Wolves on Sunday.

    The German started an "Arne Slot" chant during his leaving speech at Anfield, and a day later, the Reds officially announced the 45-year-old Dutchman's appointment, subject to a work permit.

    Slot led Feyenoord to the Eredivisie title during his time in charge, as well as the KNVB Beker, while they also reached the Europa Conference League final in 2022.

    Speaking to Feyenoord's official website, Slot said: "It is certainly not an easy decision to close the door behind you at a club where you have experienced so many wonderful moments and worked successfully with so many wonderful people.

    "But as a sportsman, an opportunity to become a head coach in the Premier League, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, is difficult to ignore.

    "At the same time, we understand very well that working at a club like Liverpool is a special and unique opportunity for him. With that in mind, we started the conversation to see if we could find a solution together, and in the end we succeeded."

    Feyenoord beat Excelsior in Feyenoord's final match in charge on Sunday.

  • Hojlund form gives Man Utd 'luxury problem' for FA Cup final, says Ten Hag Hojlund form gives Man Utd 'luxury problem' for FA Cup final, says Ten Hag

    Rasmus Hojlund's return to form presents a "luxury problem" for Manchester United ahead of this weekend's FA Cup final against Manchester City, says Erik ten Hag.

    Hojlund came off the bench to score United's second goal as they rounded off their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, having also netted in last week's 3-2 victory over Newcastle United.

    He finished his debut Premier League season with 10 goals, becoming the youngest player to reach double figures in 2023-24 (21 years, 105 days old as of Sunday).

    Hojlund has battled injury problems and dips in form throughout the campaign, and in his absence, Ten Hag has often opted to deploy Bruno Fernandes as a false nine.

    The Portugal international started United's last two matches in that position, and Ten Hag says he has plenty to think about as he prepares to name his cup final lineup.

    "It is not a dilemma, it is a luxury problem," Ten Hag said.

    "I think both formations can be a success because, as you know, we can play with the set-up from the Etihad, where we were a threat with Bruno's movement in behind.

    "With Rasmus Hojlund in behind and in form, it is absolutely something we have to consider. 

    "Let's have a thought, but let's not say we only need 11 players. In a tough final, you need a bench as well."

    Hojlund failed to score in his first 15 Premier League matches before ending his drought against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, though he did score five times in United's unsuccessful Champions League campaign before Christmas.

    He has 16 goals across all competitions this term, which Ten Hag sees as a good effort when taking his fitness problems into account. 

    "It could always be better, but don't forget he had three injuries this season," Ten Hag said.

    "He came in with an injury and missed the start, then he got injured before winter, and then got another injury after winter. 

    "Every time that has broken his rhythm. If you score 16 goals for a first season, it is okay, and remember it is also not over. We have the final too."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.