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Tighten up, and we'll climb table, claims Daly

THERE is a precision to Jon Daly that is not restricted to finding the net.

A succinct observation by the striker about Dundee United's season also hits the target.

"In our last home game against Inverness we had to score four goals to get a point. If you are scoring four at home you should be winning," he said.

However, defensive inadequacies have haunted Peter Houston's side all season and they continued at Tynecastle on Sunday when lapses of judgment and technique led to both Hearts goals and a 2-1 defeat.

"We shot ourselves in the foot again in the Hearts game," said Daly. "It was the same old story. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb by giving away two sloppy goals. We had enough of the ball and enough chances to go on and win the game. However, we came away with nothing."

The 29-year-old, however, is reluctant to reprise his stand-in role as a defender, saying: "I am a centre-forward and I see myself as such. We do have enough centre-backs and defenders at the club to be able to stop the goals going in. I just think we need to work a bit harder on the training park and make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity to win matches."

United sit outside the top six in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and Daly looks at today's home match against St Johnstone as an opportunity to start a revival.

"We are playing some good stuff and creating chances. We are always confident that we can score goals," he said. "We have plenty of players in our team that can produce, so it is just case of cutting out the slackness at the back, which is costing us."

He added: "It is frustrating, because you look at the league table and there are not that many points between six or seven teams. So it's a case of winning three or four games on the bounce and you can even find yourselves up in second place."

Meanwhile, Alan Mannus is confident St Johnstone can end their recent poor run with victory over United. The 2-0 loss at Aberdeen on Saturday left the Perth side without a league win in four matches ahead of today's game.

"If we're as good as we can be then I think we can beat anyone in the league," the goalkeeper said. "It's just whether we are or not. There's no reason we can't win."

After making numerous saves to keep his side in the contest with Aberdeen, only for Niall McGinn to score twice in the final 30 minutes, Mannus hopes to have a quieter day. However, the Northern Irishman knows United have the quality to trouble his side, despite a tame goalless draw in the first meeting between the sides earlier this season.

He added: "Last time we played them, we drew 0-0 at home. It was a bit of a boring game, I guess. I didn't really have a lot to do. Maybe it was just a one-off game.

"With [Jon] Daly and [Johnny] Russell and some other players, I guess you do expect to be quite busy. I'll be ready for it."

It is time for Saints to turn draws into wins, Mannus says. "We've drawn too many. We can beat any team if we're on our game; even if the other team are on their game we can give them a good run."

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