Sheffield United: Boss says Bradford and Boro have made it tougher for his Blades

Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini were not the only managers cursing their luck on Saturday evening.

Nigel Clough believes results at Stamford Bridge and Etihad Stadium over the weekend threaten to make life a whole lot tougher for his Sheffield United side when they host Tottenham Hotspur in the Capital One Cup tonight.

Nigel Clough on the touchline during last week's first leg at White Hart Lane

Nigel Clough on the touchline during last week's first leg at White Hart Lane

“Those will put everyone on high alert,” Clough said. “Anyone now who is facing a lower-league team, if they didn’t know it before, knows they’re in for a game.

“They’ll be saying ‘Don’t take them lightly because, on their day, they can do things like Saturday.’ But, by the same token, we can also take inspiration from that.”

Spurs enter the second-leg at Bramall Lane boasting a slender 1-0 advantage following the first instalment of their double-header against the League One club seven days ago. Like their top-flight rivals Chelsea and Manchester City, beaten by Bradford City and Middlesbrough respectively, Mauricio Pochettino’s players were also knocked-out of the FA Cup at the fourth round stage. But Clough warned his squad that Spurs’ defeat - they lost 2-1 to Leicester City - could be attributed to the fact they are placing a greater emphasis on their visit to South Yorkshire.

“I think they’ll be more determined,” he said. “I think they made nine changes and that suggests there’s not going to be many who played on Saturday playing here.

“He (Pochettino) probably prioritised and thought he could get through on Saturday and very nearly did.

“But he probably said ‘we’re 90 minutes from Wembley here’ and saved his strongest perceived side for us.”

Nevertheless, Clough is adamant that United should take heart from the achievements of their Football League counterparts.

“I think Cambridge started it off by drawing with Manchester United on the Friday night,” he said. “Things like that give you belief and inspiration.

“You watch a game and you go to bed thinking ‘come on, we can do this tomorrow’. It’s amazing how it works in players’ minds.”

Twitter: @JamesShield1

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