New Dundee United boss Csaba Laszlo has told full-backs Stewart Murdoch and Jamie Robson they should be the fittest players in his team.
And, after his first lung-busting 90 minutes of the Hungarian’s tactics, right-back Murdoch suspects that will be the case whether they like it or not.
A feature of the highly-impressive weekend win over Falkirk that took the Tangerines to the top of the Championship was the amount of time the two wide defenders spent in and around the opposition box.
That led to Murdoch setting up the second goal that was converted expertly by Robson and also saw him go close to getting on the scoresheet himself on two or three occasions.
Their attacking play was done under instruction of the gaffer and, as Csaba looks to utilise all his attacking options to the full, such performances are set to become a feature of his United team.
What he won’t do, however, is excuse whoever is filling those wide roles their defensive duties — and that means a lot of hard running for his right and left full-backs.
Luckily, that’s something that suits Murdoch down to the ground.
“The gaffer did say to us in training during last week that Jamie and I should be his fittest players because he was going to have us doing a lot of running,” said Murdoch.
“He wants us high up the pitch whenever possible, putting in crosses when we’ve got the ball or getting into the box when it is on the other side.
“That means when we don’t have possession, as a team we’ve got to get back and defend. So it means we are up and down the park all through the game.”
That said, if United keep playing as well as they did in the hugely-impressive 3-0 success against the Bairns, the two defenders could be spending most of their time operating near the opposition goal.
“I don’t think I’ve had a game were I’ve had so few tackles because we dominated and most of what I was doing was attacking.
“When you see one full-back crossing for the other to score like happened with Jamie’s goal, it tells you how much on top we were. We were almost playing as wingers!
“If I have to go back as well, I feel I have the engine to cope with that and there will be other games when I do have to defend a bit more.
“On Sunday, it was great to do so much attacking and, probably since I came to the club, that was the most dominant performance we’ve had.
“It finished three but it could have been six or seven and, if it had been, I don’t think it would have flattered us at all.”
For United it’s now about maintaining those levels and, if they do, Murdoch knows they will be a difficult team for the rest of the Championship to live with.
“The way we played, there was a lot of good football.
“The manager wants us to keep the ball and use it well but, if we do lose it, we have to work hard to get it back as quickly as possible.
“We definitely have the players who can do that and, if we do, we will be hard to beat.
“Now it’s about working hard to make sure we do keep to those levels.
“So far, the manager has worked us hard to drum into us the changes he wants to make and the boys have really bought into what he’s trying to do. That showed against Falkirk.
“Results like this one show us the rewards from doing that and now it’s all about focusing on the next game and making sure we are ready for heading up to Brechin on Saturday.”