Almost entirely a new squad, a new manager and now a change of owner in the space of just six months makes Freddy Frans believe his team actually haven’t done too badly to be sitting just four points off the pace in the promotion race as the year ends.
However, this is Dundee United, and it’s the Championship, so the Belgian defender understands perfectly why the fans want to see their team right at the top of the table.
Frans regards the Tangerines as a big club and accepts the demands that come with it, even though he’s quick to point out he’s in a division where no team will make games easy.
“I remember my first season in Scotland when I was at Partick, Dundee United were always at the top.
“They were second in the league but in the January they sold Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong and things went a little bit downwards.
“Especially when I first came here Dundee United were one of the big clubs.
“Rangers, Hibs and Hearts were not in the league so for me they always stood out and I always remember them as big.
“And it has everything to be a big club again and I think now we are on our way there.
“With the new owner, hopefully, we can only improve and be the big club again.
“I think the beginning of the season even with all the changes everybody could see even in training there was a lot of quality but, obviously, it is not easy with 14 or 15 new players, it is not easy to click straight away.
“I think in the last couple of months we have been clicking. Obviously, we had a blip against Ayr United but in general I think we are improving. Every week you see we are playing some decent football.
“If you look at the season we have been in touching distance, and if we keep improving, things can only get better.”
And Frans believes the record since Robbie Neilson took over as manager points to United being able to get to where they want to be between now and May.
“I think under the new gaffer it is something like 10 games with six wins, three draws and just one defeat.
“That’s a very good record, you win leagues with this record, I think.
“Obviously, the games against Ayr and Ross County at home were two big blips and these can’t happen anymore.”
He stresses, though, nothing can be taken for granted in the second tier, and while the aim is to end 2018 with a win at Alloa today, it will take a good performance to do that.
“We are the biggest club in this league so it is no problem people expect us to be winning.
“I expect it from the team as well and all of us expect to win every game.
“That doesn’t mean that it’s easy and it doesn’t mean we can underestimate teams.
“This weekend, for example, it’s Alloa. Each time we play them I always think they look like a very decent team, but still they are close to the bottom.
“Alloa have a good fight in them but also they play good football.
“When we played them I was surprised by the way they played football. They have some good players and a very good coach as well.
“They are a good team but the aim has to be to finish the year with three points that keeps us in touching distance to the top.
“That is where we have been most of the season so far. A win can make the gap even smaller but drop three points and it can grow again.”