Sheffield United: '˜We've got what it takes to reach the Premier League' Jack O'Connell insists ahead of Saturday's huge showdown with Norwich City
Jack O'Connell, the Sheffield United defender, believes his team mates have the strength of character and self-belief required to maintain a challenge for automatic promotion as they prepare for Saturday's pivotal showdown with Norwich City.
Chris Wilder's side will enter the game third in the table, three points behind Daniel Farke's second-placed team, after their hopes of recording a fifth straight league win were dashed by Swansea City.
Despite the defeat, O'Connell insisted United proved their top two credentials during the match at the Liberty Stadium and admitted Wilder's players take heart from the fact they are now regarded as being one of the Championship's most prized scalps.
"We've set our standards really high and we believe we should be at the top end of the Championship," O'Connell said. "It shows how far we've come, in my eyes at least, that we're disappointed not to come away from somewhere like Swansea, with the quality they've got, with a win under our belts.
"If people are saying we've got targets on our backs now then I hope they are right. Because, if we have, then for me that shows were are doing something right."
Oliver McBurnie, the Scotland centre-forward, scored the only goal of the game midway through the second-half after United had earlier missed two excellent opportunities to take the lead before the break. Although the result leaves them four points behind leaders Leeds, who were beaten by Stoke City earlier in the day, Wilder's men know victory at Carrow Road will see them climb back above Norwich with 17 matches remaining.
"I don't know if it's going to be a test of nerve but we've always reacted well in the past and that's what we've got to do again," O'Connell said. "There's a lot of football to be played.Â
"People will win games and people will lose games. We've just got to try and win the majority of them, the ones we've got."
"I don't think it made a difference playing behind everybody else," O'Connell continued, referring to the fact the fixture in South Wales was an evening kick-off. "Maybe subconsciously, you know what you've got to do. But as far as we're concerned, we just want to win games. We're not looking at anyone else because we're just trying to take care of business ourselves."