Mark Duffy, the Sheffield United midfielder, believes recent results have vindicated manager Chris Wilder’s decision not to press the panic button following the club’s poor start to the new season.
United failed to win any of their first five matches after appointing the 48-year-old as Nigel Adkins’ successor in May. But, after enjoying a dramatic upturn in fortunes, they enter today’s game against Peterborough searching for a fourth consecutive League One success.
Eight of the 14 players who featured at AFC Wimbledon last weekend were signed when Wilder performed a major overhaul of United’s first team squad and Duffy, who arrived from Birmingham City earlier this summer, said: “We have a whole new squad really, an entire new team that’s playing, and it takes time. But at the same time, we didn’t want the leaders to get too far away, because that’s where we want to be.
“We have picked up results recently and that’s what it’s all about. The gaffer is really pleased and so are the boys. There was a nervous couple of weeks, we were playing well, just not getting the results we thought we deserved..”
“We (like the fans) get frustrated, because we see the good work we do on the training ground,” Duffy added. “We were making a few silly mistakes, which were costing us. The longer it went on, the more nervous people got. We were all glad to getting that first win. It’s just been down to gelling together. You start to create bonds with other players.”
Duffy, who scored one of United’s three goals at Kingsmeadow, also admitted Wilder’s decision to change formation had led to a series of improved performances in recent weeks.
“I think that will help us at home,” Duffy said. “We can dominate the ball even more. This (number 10 role) is where I played quite a lot of my football for Burton last year. It’s a flexible formation, I can drop back into midfield, play higher up, like Saturday where it was more like three up front. It’s a formation the gaffer and Alan (Knill) seem really happy with at the moment.”
“There’s quality on the bench if I am not doing it,” Duffy added. “Stefan (Scougall) is on the bench, at the moment, but came on and did really well at Millwall. The likes of Harry Chapman, too, there’s a lot of competition for places. Matt Done stretches the play, and for me that’s helped the team, the players who come inside in the pockets. It’s just finding the relationship with other players.”