Jekyll and Hyde nature of recent Motherwell performances is headache for boss Graham Alexander after 3-0 loss at Dundee

Manager Graham Alexander was left scratching his head as the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ nature of his Motherwell team was illustrated perfectly on Saturday as the Steelmen disappointingly crashed 3-0 at second bottom Dundee.
Graham Alexander admits that Motherwell were deservedly beaten at Dens Park on Saturday (Library pic by Ian McFadyen)Graham Alexander admits that Motherwell were deservedly beaten at Dens Park on Saturday (Library pic by Ian McFadyen)
Graham Alexander admits that Motherwell were deservedly beaten at Dens Park on Saturday (Library pic by Ian McFadyen)

Deservedly being on the end of such a heavy defeat to the Dens Park strugglers – on a day in which ’Well’s often poor basic passing, defending, closing down and final ball into the box could all be called into question – mystified many observers who had been hugely impressed by all of these qualities in their fine 2-0 successes over Aberdeen and Hearts in the previous two league games.

“It would be easy to sum it up with everything we did last week we didn’t do today,” Alexander said. "The basics of football. Competing for the first contact, winning second balls, putting the opposition under pressure.

"There’s a difference between hoping it happens and making it happen and the way we started the game I think we hoped it would happen.

"We didn’t make it happen and obviously we lost the game. It’s down to our choices and our mindset, that’s all it is.

"The only change we had to make through Gossy (Sean Goss) missing out today, we stuck to the same team because of what they did last week and how they’ve trained.

“And it’s down to a choice for a player to understand what he did well last week, start from a base of the basics of football.

"If we take an eye off that and think actually, I’m a little bit better than the basics then you get what we got today.

"We didn’t deserve anything from the game. We were beaten and we have to make sure that it doesn’t happen too often because we will float around the average positions because one week we’re as we were last week and another week we’re like today.

"That’s the stark contrast that we have at the moment and we have to make sure that we get rid of this mindset as quick as possible because it’s damaging what could be a very good season. Because we’ve already seen what a good team we can be.”

Alexander, whose side remain fifth in the Scottish Premiership despite last weekend’s setback, admitted that the Dens Park debacle wasn’t the first time his side had fared so badly against strugglers this season.

"I want to say it was a shock,” Alexander, who was speaking to MFC TV, added. “But I don’t think it’s the first time that we’ve played poorly against a team that’s struggled for results.

"We can rise against any opponent in this division but we can also drop against a level of opponent and that’s in the mind.

"It’s purely in the mind so we have to fix that because it’s not the first time it’s happened.

"So we have to make sure we fix it however we fix it. But we will fix it because there’s no-one going to tell me that Dundee have more quality than us.

"But they deserved to win the game today.”

After being defeated in the City of Discovery, ’Well take on Dundee’s city rivals Dundee United at Fir Park in their next league game, KO 7.45pm on Tuesday.

Alexander, whose side also face a league trip to Hibs this Saturday, knows the importance of not allowing the disappointment of what went on at Dens to fester within his players.

"Put it behind us or keep it in our stomachs,” he added. “I’ve got no choice in it because it will be there in the pit of my stomach until we get rid of it by winning games.

"It’s the same as it was three weeks ago when we had that humbling defeat at home. We didn’t shove it under the carpet, we actually acted on it and we’ve used it as fuel and today has to be used as fuel.

"We don’t want, every two or three games, to have to kickstart our mentality and our approach to games. It’s got co come from our daily habits and our daily approach to training.

"Once you cross that white line it should be all in. If we just come off it 10% – I wouldn’t say we went there and chucked it or anything like that – but we come off 10% and it’s a big drop for us.

"So we have to make sure we’re at maximum effort, commitment, mindset and focus and when we’re that we’re a very good team and that’s what we have to show on Tuesday.”