Sheffield United: Blades must develop a dogged streak

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough at training yesterday � copyright : Blades Sports Photography
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough at training yesterday � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

Nigel Clough frequently makes comparisons with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea to try and inspire his team, writes James Shield.

Although the Sheffield United manager acknowledges Stefan Scougall and Chris Basham face a different set of footballing challenges to, say, Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa, he is adamant that ingredients for success remain the same.

It was a trick he performed again at the Redtooth Academy yesterday when he previewed tonight’s League One encounter against MK Dons. A match which sees United attempt to prolong their unbeaten run in the competition to four matches and close the gap between themselves and the automatic promotion places to just four points.

“The mentality that all of those sides who are challenging for the Premier League or European titles have is that, come what may, they aren’t going to lose games,” Clough said. “It’s not being negative, it’s just that they are determined to take something away with them from a game.

“That’s what we’re striving for here and it’s vital to have that. There will be times when you’re frustrated to only take a point and quite rightly so but at least it means you’ve got something to show.”

Clough admitted last week’s draw with Notts County was one such occasion when, after falling a goal behind, Jamie Murphy’s second-half equaliser secured United a share of the spoils.

The result left them fifth in the table but Clough said: “I don’t analyse the table too closely at the moment because we’re not even half way through the season. It’s frustrating to draw at home for the second match in a row but, what I do know, is that if we’d taken four points from matches where we did lose but should have taken something away with us then that would make a huge difference to how it looks.

“It’s those situations that can cost you. Situations when you take nothing.”

“We’re working hard to make sure that we score first because we don’t want to give our opponents anything to hang on to,” Clough added. “That’s something we’ve not done enough lately.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1