Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass admits his squad were mentally and physically drained during the dismal Scottish Cup exit to Dundee United.
And he is determined there will be no repeat performance under his management going forward.
In his third game in the Dons’ dugout Glass experienced defeat for the first time as Dundee United stormed to a 3-0 win.
Although disappointed Glass refused to criticise his team as he believes they were ‘dead on their feet’ after the exertions of a tough 1-1 draw with Celtic and a penalty shoot-out defeat of Livingston within the space of a week.
He is determined the lack of energy will be a one off.
Glass said: “We looked mentally tired and unable to play under that level of pressure for the third time in a week.
“It is something we’ll have to learn from, address and ensure with work with the players that it doesn’t happen again.
“It is obviously very disappointing.
“We came into the game looking to perform the way we had the last couple of games but the group looked dead on their feet.
“They have given us everything they had in the last two games and it didn’t look like they were capable of doing what we needed them to do against a United side which came here full of energy.
“United took control. We didn’t look like we were thinking forward quickly enough and we couldn’t handle it under the pressure.
“You can see that they are giving everything but the group could not handle a third game in a week for whatever reason.
“It is our job to fix it. That is why we are here.
“And there is a good base to build from.”
🎥 Post match reaction from the manager. pic.twitter.com/V908oyaUtK
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) April 25, 2021
A semi-final spot at Hampden on the weekend of May 8 and 9 was up for grabs but the bid to land the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1990 was ruthlessly killed off by Dundee United.
Glass said: “You are in the quarter-final of a cup and you lose so of course it is a big opportunity missed.
“We knew what was at stake, the chance to go to Hampden and play a semi-final.
“We’re here for a reason.”
Dundee United manager Micky Mellon rested six players in the 3-0 midweek loss to Kilmarnock to keep them fresh for the tie.
The Tannadice club are in the bottom six of the Premiership but safe from any threat of relegation – Mellon could afford to take that gamble of resting players.
Glass did not have the same luxury against Celtic as the Reds are fighting to finish third.
Glass said: “It’s not as if we had the choice of making five or six changes without throwing loads of young players into a game of that magnitude.
“The group is what it is.
“The first half set the tone and you saw what the games against Livingston and Celtic took out of the group.
“It didn’t look like we had much left in the tank.
“I want to reiterate the players have given us everything.”
Dundee United were 2-0 up at half-time via goals from Marc McNulty and Ryan Edwards.
Any slim hopes of a revival were extinguished in the 54th minute when McNulty netted his second.
Following the cup exit Aberdeen have just three Premiership games remaining this season – against Livingston, Hibs and Rangers.
They trail third placed Hibs by six points.
Glass said: “United, anytime they missed a pass, did so in a good area and we weren’t able to take advantage.
“I want to think how we are going to work and we’ll prepare the players in a way that will have them capable of doing this.
“Anytime things change for players it is fatiguing and they are feeling the end of the season.”