Defiant Csaba Laszlo is refusing to concede defeat despite his side blowing the chance of victory in Monday night’s play-off semi-final first leg against Livingston.
The gaffer could only watch in disbelief at Tannadice as his Dundee United side lost two late goals and had skipper Willo Flood red-carded as they went down 3-2.
But with the tie only at the halfway stage, he’s warned Livi that United will put up a fight in Friday’s second leg.
What Csaba didn’t hide was how hard it was to watch as his men wasted what had been a dominant performance until a catastrophic last 15 minutes.
“These kind of losing games are the most painful because, OK this is maybe my opinion, but until 70 minutes we controlled the game,” he said.
“Then two individual mistakes cost us but, generally, I protect the players because I think they have had a very difficult season and a very short time to prepare after two games against Dunfermline.
“But it is only one goal and we will try to do our best in Livingston.
“We have 90 minutes plus the extra time. Maybe, and hopefully, we can do it.”
United’s cause will not be helped by the loss of Flood who saw red after picking up a second yellow card for pushing Livi’s Shaun Byrne.
The captain then launched a tirade at his bench and a BT Sport camera as headed for the tunnel.
Csaba, though, understood the Irishman’s frustration and refused to condemn him.
“I protect him because he knows this is a big chance to move higher from the Championship and he was frustrated,” he added.
“On the other side, look also in this moment the players are human.
“I talked with Willo already and he knows 100% that it is the frustration there.
“He didn’t hurt anybody. It was frustration and this is OK for me, no problem.”
In a further blow Bilel Mohsni limped off just before the end with a groin injury and is doubtful for Friday night’s decider.
Meanwhile, the knee injury goalkeeper Deniz suffered during last Friday’s quarter-final against Dunfermline now appears more serious than first thought.
He’s damaged cruciate ligaments and his absence is likely to be measured in months.