SHEFFIELD United manager Micky Adams praised Steve Simonsen’s strength of character after his man-of-the-match display against Coventry City.
The United goalkeeper produced a series of fine saves, most notably to deny Lukas Jutkiewicz and Gary McSheffrey, during Saturday’s stalemate at the Ricoh Arena.
Simonsen’s heroics helped the visitors, whose defence had previously been breached 16 times in just five outings, record their first clean sheet since last month’s win over Swansea.
Adams said: “I’m delighted for Steve. It can be demoralising seeing the ball hit the back of the net so many times.
“I’ve felt a bit sorry for him lately because of that. But he’s been excellent for me and that’s given us something to build-on.”
United, who included debutants Joe Mattock and Shane Lowry in a new look back four, remain perilously close to the Championship’s relegation zone but, with Crystal Palace, Preston and Scunthorpe all failing to win, moved two points clear of the bottom three ahead of Saturday’s clash with Norwich.
Having survived a first-half onslaught from Aidy Boothroyd’s side, United improved after the interval and could have snatched a win during the closing stages had Stephen Quinn marked his return from suspension by converting from close range.
Adams insisted afterwards that his players “are definitely good enough” to avoid the drop but conceded “the hard part is convincing them.”
“How do we do that? By drip feeding into them the way that I want us to play,” he added. “I know how to get a team organised and if they buy into that, buy into what we are trying to do, then we’re not going to have any problems.
“They know now that they can go away from home and withstand pressure. That’s important. I don’t want my men to shy away from anyone and they certainly didn’t do that.”