Enda Stevens says Sheffield United are in the business of collecting points, not plaudits, after claiming his team mates could not care less if people continue to underestimate their footballing ability.
Despite climbing to third in the Championship table, only six months after winning the League One title last term, much of the commentary surrounding United’s progress has focused on character rather than the quality of their play.
Although manager Chris Wilder has insisted his squad has “much more it” than attitude and commitment, Stevens said: “There are some excellent players here, which is something that can get overlooked when everyone is talking about hard work. Technically, I look at lads like (John) Fleck and (Paul) Coutts in the middle of the park and they are probably the best partnership I have come across. Then, there is young David Brooks who looks like he has been playing first team football for years. He came in and breezes past players.
“Then, there is Mark Duffy. I played with Duffs at Doncaster so knew what he was about. Technically, he is all there as well.”
“People can have their opinions and say what they want,” Stevens, who also represented Aston Villa and Portsmouth before arriving at Bramall Lane, continued. “It is what is in our dressing room and this building that counts. I don’t think anyone cares what others say. I certainly don’t because I know the quality we have at this training ground.”
United enter today’s home game against Reading only two points behind leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Although the visitors have made a slow start to the season after reaching the play-off final earlier this year, Wilder warned “We’ll have to be bang at it” during his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
Echoing that sentiment, Stevens said: “It will get harder for us from now, I am not going to lie to you about that. People have watched us and realise we are a tough opponent.
“At Bramall Lane, I expect teams to come here and be hard to break down. They know resilience will be needed.
“Away from home, we might also be under the cosh but we are prepared to take anything head on.”