Dundee United: Jack Ross' future not in doubt despite bad run, says Tony Asghar

By Richard WintonBBC Sport Scotland

Jack Ross' future at Dundee United is not in doubt after six weeks in charge and has not been discussed by the club's hierarchy, says sporting director Tony Asghar.

Only goal difference is keeping United off the bottom of the Scottish Premiership after three consecutive losses, while the club were humiliated 7-0 by AZ Alkmaar in Europe.

After Saturday's defeat by St Mirren, there were rumours that Ross had quit - but Asghar insists those "untruths" are "crazy talk" and "fake news".

"Jack Ross is a top manager, a top man, wants to be here and has a fight in him to make things better and we'll continue to work shoulder to shoulder to make sure that happens," Asghar told BBC Sport Scotland.

"We've had a blip, but we don't have knee-jerk reactions to outside influences. We are all in this together - players, staff, fans - and we can't let two or three bad results or performances change that.

"We've come through similar scenarios before. Even last season, we had a very poor run but finished fourth. It's very early in the season and Jack is very clear and forthright in how to make things better and we are all very supportive of that."

United host Celtic on Sunday before travelling to face Livingston in the last-16 of the League Cup. Following that, they have trips to Motherwell and Rangers either side of a home game with Hibernian.

But despite that daunting schedule, Asghar insists neither he, nor owner Mark Ogren, have discussed the prospect of United finding themselves scrapping at the bottom end of the division as autumn turns to winter.

"We're not talking about relegation after four games," he said. "You're the first to discuss it with me. We don't need to talk about that when the sun is still shining and the summer transfer window is still open."

No deadline day business expected

While Asghar will be at his desk "with a pizza and a can of Irn-Bru" late into the evening on deadline day next Thursday, he does not expect United to do any more business this summer.

On Thursday, the club confirmed the signing of Ugandan striker Sadat Anaku, with the 21-year-old's arrival taking their list of summer recruits to eight.

The calibre of those recruits has led to renewed talk about United's spending, with the most recent figures showing a wages to turnover ratio of 132% in the period until June 2021.

However, those accounts do not include incoming fees for Lawrence Shankland, Kerr Smith, Jeando Fuchs, Jamie Robson or Louis Appere. Nor do they take into account a £1.5m business interruption insurance pay-out received after the pandemic.

"There's been a lot of narrative around the finances and, while I'm not an economist, we moved out 18 players last season and brought in international players as part of a smaller squad," Asghar said. "We also sold four or five players for fees last season.

"This club is not a steam train where we are going to keep overspending. We have a strict, sustainable model.

"We've had to turn a Championship squad into a Premiership one and deal with the effects of Covid, so of course there are going to be challenges. But this year, once the accounts are done, that will stop the snipers talking about it constantly."

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