Manager Nigel Clough has admitted that his Sheffield United players were told “a few home truths” after Tuesday’s defeat Yeovil - but insists he is fully focused on this weekend’s Yorkshire derby against Bradford City at Bramall Lane.
United - who enter the contest fifth in the League One table, a point and a place ahead of Chesterfield in sixth - can all but secure their place in the top six with victory, as they lead seventh-placed Rochdale by eight points.
We’ve told them a few home truths but we move on now and the most important thing is the next three gamesNigel Clough
And Clough said: “We wasted a chance to pretty much nail our top-six spot and we didn’t do that, which is disappointing.
“Especially as it would have given us a chance to rest a few lads who could do with it, ahead of the play-offs.
“We probably can’t do that now.
“We’ve told them a few home truths but we move on now, and the most important thing is the next three games.
“We’ve pointed out our feelings on the Yeovil game to the players, but now we’ve got to move on.”
Over 500 supporters made the long trip to Yeovil’s Huish Park and Clough insisted that United’s players and staff are well aware of their responsibility to their fans.
Stefan Scougall used a post-match interview to apologise to the fans for the lacklustre display, and Clough admitted: “That was probably warranted, as it should be when you lose and don’t play well.
“But it’s a part of football; you go away and support your team, and they’re not always going to be brilliant. And we weren’t tonight.
“This season we’ve done okay on the road; not as well as we have liked, but okay.
“We are always conscious of the responsibility we have to the fans who travel around the country with us to places like Yeovil.
“We make the same journey in comparative comfort but a lot of fans drive here and drive straight back, on minibuses and coaches.
“So we feel that responsibility very heavily.”
Steven Davies was withdrawn in the first half after taking a whack on the foot, and Ryan Flynn is a doubt for Saturday’s clash with Bradford after damaging his hamstring.
“We put out what we felt was out strongest side for the game,” Clough added, “and that was an indication of what we wanted to do.
“We could have effectively put it to bed and sealed it. The shame was, we really couldn’t see them scoring. Then, suddenly, it goes through the legs of Mark [Howard] and they’re celebrating. Our decision-making, with one notable exception in John Brayford, could have been much better on the ball.
“But, despite the disappointment, it’s still as you were [in the league]. That’s a consolation of sorts but it doesn’t feel like that even though there’s another game gone.
“We’re better than that, we know it and other people know it, so we’ve got to go out there and show it as we have in the past.”