McGhee: our defending must be better and I understand ’Well fans’ frustration

Motherwell fans display a protest banner after the 5-1 home Scottish Premiership by Dundee (Pic by Alan Watson)
Motherwell fans display a protest banner after the 5-1 home Scottish Premiership by Dundee (Pic by Alan Watson)

Mark McGhee says his team must cut out the basic defensive errors if they are to avoid being relegated this season.

McGhee was speaking after a humiliating 5-1 home defeat by Dundee on Saturday which leaves ’Well just three points off the bottom of the Scottish Premiership and led to a fans’ protest against him outside the stadium.

“We are hugely disappointed,” McGhee said.

“I understand fans’ frustrations. But they also have to be realistic.

“I’m not arrogant enough to think that I’m immortal and think that 7-2 at Aberdeen and 5-1 today doesn’t put me under pressure. Of course it does.

“But it doesn’t change my desire to do the job.

“We had a very improvised back four today which couldn’t cope with Dundee.

“Physically, the lad Haber particularly I thought bullied them. They didn’t stand up to the physical challenge that he presented.

“Every time the ball went in our box it looked like they were going to score and most of the time it went in our box they did score. So that was hugely disappointing. We hoped for a little bit better.

“We are in a group of clubs that are fighting relegation.

“I think other clubs lose as well. We eventually know we’ve got to win some games.

“I think we’re capable of it. I think we need to defend better.”

McGhee hopes to have defenders Richard Tait and Stevie Hammell back for next week’s crucial game at Kilmarnock.

He added: “We have seen Carl McHugh go to centre half and he has played centre half before and I thought he did brilliantly when he went back there. So that would be an option.

“If we went into the Kilmarnock game with a back four of Tait, Heneghan, McHugh and Hammell then we’ll be harder to beat.

“Today brought home just how much we missed the experienced defenders.

“People weren’t doing well enough one to one when the ball was coming in the box.

“We weren’t winning headers, nobody was heading the ball and they were putting decent balls in.”

McGhee praised front two Louis Moult and Scott McDonald for their second half displays against Dundee.

And the Motherwell gaffer added: “The second half showed we are not lacking in spirit. The players are going to have to be tough and brave now to stand up to the criticism we’re going to get this week and that I’m going to get.

“They have to stand up and be counted really. But they showed it’s more about the technical side than the psychological side.”