Clean slate under Csaba gives Dundee United understudy Deniz fresh hope

Deniz Mehmet
Deniz Mehmet

It may have been all change at Dundee United in the past week but, for goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet, it’s been very much business as usual — and he’s delighted about that.

While Csaba Laszlo has been brought in to replace Ray McKinnon as manager, for the man who’s been the Tangerines back-up goalie this term, not that much has altered.

In keeping with their image of being a breed apart from outfield players, Deniz and his fellow keepers spend much of their working week training on their own.

So with specialised coach Stuart Garden’s services being retained under the new boss, there haven’t been any shifts in that department. That suits the London-born former Turkish youth international just fine.

Stuart Garden

That’s because while he likes what he’s seen of the new gaffer so far, most of it has been from a distance.

“The manager has been good. He came in last Thursday and spoke to us about how he wants to do things and training sessions have been good,” said the 25-year-old.

“Now we are all looking forward to a full week training with him to see his ways and to try to impress him.

“As a goalkeeper, though, I spend my time with Stuart Garden. We do go across to the rest of the team when we finish our own work and that’s when we see the things he is doing.

“Other than that, we don’t see that much. We look across from where we’re working and we see a few different drills and stuff. That’s natural with a new manager coming in.

“For me, it’s been working with Stuart since I’ve been here and that’s a good thing. I’m glad that’s not changed and we can keep working together.”

Where Deniz is just like any other player is in realising the change of team boss is an opportunity to show he should be on the park every week. His aim is to work hard to impress Laszlo.

“With a new manager coming into the club, it always has that feel that the slate has been wiped clean for everyone, so we work hard and see how it goes.

“It was not a great start for us losing to Crusaders in the Irn-Bru Cup but we had a good week ahead to prepare for the next game against Falkirk. We will all fight for a place in the starting XI.”

He does admit the weekend loss to the Northern Irish part-times was a frustrating experience, particularly as it was a tie he knows United should have had wrapped up long before the opposition’s late fightback.

“It’s difficult to get your head around it. I thought we played some nice football at times and then let one late goal in and concede the winner with almost the last kick of the ball — it’s hard to take.

“We made more chances than them but it just seemed when the game went to 1-1 we lost our grip on it a little bit and lost the advantage from there

“We won the last two games in the Irn-Bru in injury time and it looked like we were going to do it again. In added time we missed a chance and that was where their second goal came from.

“It’s one of those things, you can score in the last minute and you concede one in the last minute and, unfortunately, we let one in at the end.

“Just before it I thought we’d won it. Billy King had a good strike and their keeper has kept them in it with a great save, it’s just one of those things.”