In what are trying – but not necessarily desperate – times for Dundee United, manager Csaba Laszlo appears to be handling their current situation as well as can be expected.
Whether or not the blame for the position United currently find themselves in, namely being stuck in the Championship for a third season on the bounce, lies at Csaba’s door is up for debate.
However, what cannot be denied is – since last season’s promotion play-off failure – the Hungarian has, largely, stuck to his word.
He promised to remain committed to the club and be around for the squad overhaul he carried out over the summer.
That facelift, along with a change in the Tangerines’ style of play, came and has been shown to work on the whole.
Yet, as with most clubs up and down the country, other factors have got in the way of the master-plan and caused the Terrors to get off to a somewhat sticky start to the season.
Injuries to key men from last season – Fraser Fyvie, Sam Stanton, Billy King and Stewart Murdoch – haven’t helped.
New signing Nicky Clark, the man charged with putting the finishing touches on what is undeniably now Csaba’s team, has also had an Achilles problem.
Csaba has combated these issues by tinkering with personnel, altering formations and, at times, being forced to field players out of position.
Following Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Morton, he said: “I know how painful it is to lose two points because you want to be at the top of the league but we are still just three points behind first and there are a lot of games to go.
“I think we have a good team and we can dominate every game, we just need to be more clinical.
“I want to keep clean sheets but, unfortunately, in every game we have conceded goals. We have been forced to change the defence with Murdoch out with a knee injury.
“In the first 20 minutes, with Rachid Bouhenna starting, maybe not everyone was comfortable.
“Afterwards we grew into the game and I don’t think that we made any mistakes.”
Excuses, perhaps, but valid ones? Probably. Further to his points, when King, Paul McMullan and Fyvie, in particular, came on United kicked into gear.
Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Falkirk, for the first time in a few weeks, Csaba will have options to consider from a squad he has, for all his critics, united behind one cause.
Stanton is expected back in training while the trio aforementioned will have played themselves into the gaffer’s thoughts.
Arabs heading through on Saturday will be looking for three points after draws against Alloa and Morton in their last two league matches.
And rightly so, to push themselves back into promotion contention they will have to pick up three points with more regularity.
However, Csaba has defended their record so far which sees them lie in fifth position – just three points behind leaders Inverness Caley Thistle, saying: “We have had four games in a row without losing – two wins and two draws – so psychologically the team are showing spirit which is good.
“They (the fans) have stuck with us for three years, this is the third year in the Scottish Championship and I think, not just the fans, but everybody is hoping we can go up.
“This is a normal reaction, I understand them but they also must understand that we are also human and are trying to do the best for the club.
“The fans have to appreciate the work that has been put in, the season is just beginning and it is only five games.”