Blades Fans Column: Spurs helped Sheffield United find that missing something

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough on the touchline at White Hart Lane
Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough on the touchline at White Hart Lane
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Blades fans have been waiting since August for that moment of enlightenment when everything clicks into place and the stumbling along that we have seen all season becomes a thing of the past.

Anybody who watches United regularly can see that there is so much latent ability in the squad, probably more than in any other squad in the division.

The two games against MK Dons are a case in point. United were much the better side at Bramall Lane, and were not the worse side at stadium:mk, but we lost them both. There’s something missing - not much, but enough - and nobody, not even Cloughie, can put their finger on what it is.

Then a cup game comes along and it’s a different thing entirely. That something that we don’t know what it is appears in bucketloads. The team looks more sure of itself, more decisive and more determined.

Cloughie and others have suggested it’s because in the league teams sit back, whereas that’s the way United like to play, and struggle when obliged to force the pace. Playing against Tottenham was the way United like to play, but of course their extra quality meant that United’s chances to break were few and far between.

It’ll be interesting to see how Spurs approach the second leg. If they were 1-0 up going into the away leg in the Europa they would sit back, but United will also want to sit back to avoid conceding an early goal. Spurs might go for a goal from the off, which would kill the tie. But I reckon it’ll start off rather boring and get more and more exciting as, at 0-0, United chase the goal to force extra time. As long as it remains goalless United have a sneaky chance.

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