Dundee United boss Mixu Paatelainen has been named Ladbrokes Premiership Manager of the Month after guiding his basement boys to two wins and a draw from four games in February.
The Finn’s award sits next to midfielder Paul Paton’s Player of the Month gong in the Tannadice trophy cabinet after Paton scooped the gong for a number of quality performances.
United, while still languishing at the bottom of the Premiership table, picked up two wins against Hearts and Ross County and earned an away point at Hamilton in a goalless draw back on February 13.
And Paatelainen insists it was a team effort that got him the award. He told Ladbrokes’ Mark Hendry: “I’m just a small part of it. Ultimately it was the players on the pitch, they are the most important people.”
The Finn acknowledged his team’s position but is adamant this award is recognition that his team have improved recently and are on the up.
“It is a sign that last month we did well. Hopefully we can carry that on but it won’t be easy” he added.
Winning awards when you are the bottom of the table is relatively uncommon and that aspect is not lost on the United gaffer.
But he maintains that his side are in good spirits and that their form is improving.
He continued: “Of course it’s nice to realise that we’ve started to do better. And this (winning the award) obviously motivates us even more.
“We want to do well enough this season to survive. We have a long way to go but there’s a sign that we are taking the right steps forward.”
The former Hibs and Kilmarnock manager saluted his stand-in captain Paul Paton for his Ladbrokes Player of the Month award and admitted it is a huge boost to the club to have Paton back from long-term injury.
“Having Paul back is massive. He is a leader and a full-hearted player. He leads by example and is a wonderful player to have in your squad.
“It’s great to have him back obviously. For the first few months he was missing from our line-up but I’m delighted that he’s now fully fit and on form.”
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