MICKY Adams, the Sheffield United manager, last night dismissed claims that he risked damaging his squad’s already brittle confidence by issuing a scathing critique of their performance at Scunthorpe.
Adams questioned the players’ “heart” before insisting United’s travelling support had been right to chant “you’re not fit the wear the shirt” after Tuesday’s capitulation at Glanford Park.
United, who raced into a 2-0 lead before conceding three preventable goals, return at action when Derby County visit Bramall Lane today.
Revealing that he had briefed the dressing room about his intentions, Adams confirmed the majority of those on display in Lincolnshire would be given the opportunity to set the record straight this afternoon.
“I back my players,” he said. “I always have and if I take them to task then they’ll get the chance to answer me. So, no, I won’t be making many changes.
“The boys knew what I was going to say. I told them. I’ve always spoken to people face to face. I’ve never gone behind anyone’s back.”
Adams added: “In football, the players have always got your life in their hands. If they don’t want to play for you then it becomes very visible very quickly. I can look at myself in the mirror with regards to what I’m trying to do.”
Adams will be forced to make one enforced adjustment due to Shane Lowry’s suspension. Nyron Nosworthy or Johannes Ertl could replace him at centre-half as United, who are 23rd in the Championship table, look to cut the five-point deficit between themselves and Crystal Palace in 21st.
“We won’t know whether what happened (at Scunthorpe) is going to affect morale until we kick-off,” Adams said.
“We had them in on Wednesday to run them through the DVD.
“Not just to show them what they did wrong but also to go through the first 20 or 30 minutes when they were excellent. After 20 minutes, although because of our position you can never be totally confident, I felt comfortable. I just hoped we weren’t going to make mistakes and unfortunately we did.
“As a manager you can’t legislate for individual errors. All you can do is prepare.”