There is so much work ahead for Jim Goodwin, but it all starts with bringing back one thing.

“I think pride is a big word,” the Dundee United manager said. “That is something we need to restore. Everybody was hurting at how the season ended.

“Dundee United are one of the biggest clubs in the country with a really rich history and we let ourselves down last season, it is as simple as that. It is a different situation this season as opposed to last season.”

As you can see, Goodwin does not attempt to sugar coat the situation United have found themselves in, but he is convinced he can drag them out of it. The Northern Irishman provides as honest an assessment as he can of a painful relegation, confessing that the only facet of the club which did not badly underperform last season was the supporters.

Having suffered through four years of trying to escape its clutches, nobody knows what awaits United in the Championship better than them. It’s now over to Goodwin and the United hierarchy to craft a side capable of making their return to the second tier a short one – he insists it’s the least they owe their supporters.

READ MORE: The Celtic pros and cons as Brendan Rodgers nears sensational return

“This season in the Championship we will be the biggest club in the league,” said the Irishman. “We will be the big fish, if you like and there is a huge level of expectation on us to go and win the league, to bounce back at the first opportunity.

“The last time Dundee United were in the Championship it took four seasons to get out of it. We can’t afford for that to happen again so we have to make sure that we get all those fine details sorted out quickly during this break that we have.

“Like any manager out there, we want to entertain the fans especially here at Tannadice on the nice big pitch. We want to give the supporters a team they enjoy coming to watch first and foremost but we need to restore a bit of pride in the club as well.

“There are a number of departments that have underperformed, particularly on the football side of things. If there is an element of the club that didn't underperform last season, it was the support from the fans that we got.

“They turned out in their droves, week after week when the team was struggling at the bottom of the table. We really owe them and need to repay them this season for their commitment.”

Goodwin was back at Tannadice on Tuesday for a first official appearance since being given the job full-time. His initial appointment until the end of the season back in March could not stave off the drop, and he is eager to get to work following the shortest close season turnaround of his career. United’s players will report for work on June 22, and Goodwin expects it is when they will do their most ‘important’ work of the campaign.

“Pre-season is tough,” he said. “It is not like 20 years ago when I was doing it - there won't be too many players at the side of the pitch throwing up, I would imagine.

“But it it will be physical, it will be hard work.

“It is the most crucial time and the most important of the season because that’s where you can really hone in on the fitness levels of the players. That’s something that I have always been big on as a player and more so now as a manager.

“The physical aspect of the game is so intense now and to play in the modern-day game you have to be in good shape. There will be lots of demands put on the players but the majority of the group who are here will have understood that from our short period together at the tail end of last season.

“It will be tough but hopefully enjoyable as well.”

READ MORE: Dave King responds to Easdale 'talks' claims and backs Rangers board

Among his squad for next season will be Tony Watt. The striker has returned from a loan spell at St Mirren but will miss the Viaplay Cup group stage as he recuperates from ankle surgery. He communicated with fans via his own official YouTube channel last week, declaring he held no ill-will from a frustrating start to life at Tannadice which saw him sent down the road to Paisley.

Watt previously claimed that he felt unwanted under previous manager Liam Fox, but is now adamant his primary focus is getting fit for the opening day of the Championship season. Goodwin stressed he is only interested in working with players fully committed to the cause, and says he will give those who are ‘a fresh start’ for the upcoming campaign.

“Tony is recovering from ankle surgery so it was a disappointing end to the season for him on loan at St Mirren,” Goodwin said. “He is under contract so will be part of the playing squad when he comes back. Tony had a brilliant season the year before last, that’s why Dundee United brought him here. 

“Last season things didn’t pan out the way he would have liked but it’s a fresh start for everyone as far as I’m concerned. I want to see exactly what players are committed to the club going forward. 

“Those who are, we want them to stay.”