Sheffield United: Set-plays ‘are key’ for Blades, says new boss Nigel Adkins

Chris Basham is a key man for Sheffield United, in both boxes, at set-plays
Chris Basham is a key man for Sheffield United, in both boxes, at set-plays
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Nigel Adkins will make set-pieces one of his priorities when Sheffield United’s players return to pre-season training next month.

United, who finished fifth in League One last season and suffered a 7-6 aggregate play-off semi-final defeat at the hands of Swindon Town, struggled to defend corners and set-plays throughout the campaign and Nigel Clough, Adkins’ predecessor, conceded that his side did not offer enough of an attacking threat from them either.

Jamie Murphy and Co. will end their regular League One season at home to Scunthorpe United

Jamie Murphy and Co. will end their regular League One season at home to Scunthorpe United

But Adkins, speaking after agreeing to succeed Clough in the Bramall Lane dug-out, revealed: “Championships are won by defenders but goals win games, so that’s something we’ve got to address and look to sort out.

“It’s simple, really, in principle; keep it out at one end, and stick it in at the other!

“Set-plays are a big part of that, too. You’ve got to be big and bold enough, as players, to go and deal with those, both offensively and defensively.

“We’ve calculated that around 30 per cent of goals in football come from set-plays. Of course, there are other aspects of play that we want to work on, too, but all together they add up to a formula which will, hopefully, help us win games.”

Another task on Adkins’ to-do list may be to deal with a bid for winger Jamie Murphy, with Brighton reportedly interested in the Scot. Murphy, however, is thought to be settled at Bramall Lane after his partner recently gave birth to their first child.

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