Chris Basham has insisted that Nigel Clough is the manager best equipped to restore Sheffield United’s Championship status after confirming he retains the full support of Bramall Lane’s first-team squad, writes James Shield.
Basham, the former Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers midfielder, issued a staunch defence of the 49-year-old’s qualities despite seeing his first full season at the helm end in bitter disappointment following Monday’s League One play-off semi-final defeat by Swindon Town.
“He deserves to see the job through,” Basham said. “We have had a great season.
“I know people say it wasn’t a great season because it wasn’t mission accomplished. And it wasn’t.
“But we got to the semi-final of a major cup, we got to the semi-final of the play-offs.
“It wasn’t mission accomplished but the gaffer and his staff will sit down over the summer, get things sorted and we will be all ready to play for Nigel Clough next term.”
United bowed-out of the end of season knockouts after a breathtaking 5-5 draw at the County Ground condemned them to a 7-6 aggregate defeat.
Basham said: “The chairman came in and said ‘well done’. But it has been an unsuccessful season because we didn’t go up.
“We have learned a lot over the season. Obviously, we need to strengthen in certain areas. But every lad in that dressing room gave 100 per cent.
“We should hold our heads high but If we can take anything then it is we have to push on.
“We will be down for a week or two. But these things happen in football. We have to come back all guns blazing next season and get off to a good start.
“That is vital. Like Bristol City did this year, I don’t think they lost for the first 10 to 15 games. That is what we need to do.”
Clough reiterated his desire to remain at the helm before returning to South Yorkshire.
United footballing staff are scheduled to meet at the Redtooth Academy this morning for a debriefing session while other internal housekeeping, medical and administrative matters are thought to be on the agenda.
“We can learn from this and come back a better team,” Basham said. “Teams come to Bramall Lane seeing it as their Cup final and we have to be ready for that next season.
“The gaffer and everyone around him has been right behind us all the way through.”