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Page last updated at 22:39 GMT, Wednesday, 25 August 2010 23:39 UK

Peter Houston brushes aside change of Athens venue

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Dundee Utd 'must be compact' in Athens

Dundee United manager Peter Houston insists the change of venue for the Europa League qualifier against AEK Athens will not affect his players.

AEK were forced to switch to the ground of neighbours Olympiakos and none of their own fans can attend the game

"AEK are a quality side and, if the stadium is full or it is empty, it doesn't matter," said Houston.

"As far as the football side is concerned, they are still the top-class team we saw last week."

AEK have been unable to use the Olympic Stadium because the pitch was deemed unsuitable but go into the second leg 1-0 ahead after impressing against a lacklustre United at Tannadice.

Last week, I was a bit surprised when the gaffer named the team and I wasn't in it

Dundee United defender Darren Dods

United chairman Stephen Thompson was angry that his side had to prepare for the game without knowing the venue until just over 24 hours before kick-off.

But Houston was more concerned about the soaring temperatures in Athens.

"The heat is obviously a factor," he said. "As soon as we landed, you could feel it and, even though the game is a 9pm kick-off, it will still be very hot.

"So we'll have to make sure that the players have plenty of water available.

"When Scottish players go into these conditions, it's always a bit harder."

Meanwhile, defender Darren Dods is hoping for a recall after being dropped last week.

United striker David Goodwillie takes in water
United's players have been told to drink a lot of water in Athens

United have shipped five goals in two matches during his absence, so the 35-year-old is aiming to be in place against AEK.

"Last week, I was a bit surprised when the gaffer named the team and I wasn't in it, but it was a tactical thing and these days we keep hearing it's a squad game, so it's one of these things that can happen," said Dods.

"You accept it, just get on with your job and help the boys who are playing in any way you can, but it goes without saying I want to play in the second leg.

"We can expect to have to do a bit of defending because they've already shown they're a good team and they'll want to win again.

"They'll come at us, but I don't think they'll start with all guns blazing because they are an experienced team and they know it's important for them not to lose an away goal.

"It's not going to be easy, but we'll give it our best shot and we have players who on their day are capable of punishing anyone."



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see also
AEK face Dundee Utd without fans
25 Aug 10 |  Dundee Utd
AEK 1-1 Dundee Utd (agg 2-1)
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
United reject new Boro Conway bid
31 Aug 10 |  Dundee Utd
Houston warns Dundee Utd players
23 Aug 10 |  Dundee Utd
Dundee Utd 0-4 Inverness CT
22 Aug 10 |  Scottish Premier
AEK taught us a lesson - Houston
19 Aug 10 |  Dundee Utd
Dundee Utd 0-1 AEK Athens
19 Aug 10 |  Europe


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