Sheffield United: Enda Stevens makes a bold Premier League prediction

Enda Stevens believes Sheffield United's fearless approach means they can prosper in the Premier League next season.

By James Shield
Thursday, 13 June, 2019, 17:35
Enda Stevens of Sheffield United (r) celebrates with Mark Duffy: James Wilson/Sportimage

The defender was speaking after Chris Wilder's newly promoted side were paired with AFC Bournemouth on the opening weekend of the new campaign, before back to back home games against Crystal Palace and Leicester City.

Dismissing claims United must temper their expansive approach in order to survive at the highest level, Stevens insisted his team mates will instead look to play with the same passion and creativity which helped them finish second in the Championship last term.

Real Betis will play Sheffield United in Portugal: Simon Galloway/PA Wire.

"I just feel we're going to go out and enjoy it," the Republic of Ireland international said, providing an insight into the psychology of United's squad. "When we get there, we might see the occasion is much bigger.

"But the manager and the staff take all the pressure off us by saying just play the way you want to play. They take the nerves away and I think we'll have the same mentality in the Premier League."

Bramall Lane will stage its first top-flight game since 2007 when Palace visit South Yorkshire on August 17; a week after United's appearance at the Vitality Stadium.

Although starting the campaign away from home grants them extra-time to make the necessary stadium improvements, Stevens admitted: "I will enjoy it. We're looking forward to it. I'd rather be there than somewhere else.

Enda Stevens: James Wilson/Sportimage

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"I just wanted a home game really to experience Bramall Lane again, the feelgood factor and to get that back.

"It's something you miss when you stop playing and to be honest I didn't want the season to finish, it was that enjoyable towards the end.

"That's the one thing I'm really looking forward to, getting back at Bramall Lane."

United, who tonight confirmed they will meet Real Betis in Portugal on July 12, face what on paper at least appears their first significant test at Chelsea during August's final round of fixtures. They are also scheduled to lock horns with both Manchester City and Liverpool, who finished first and second respectively last term, over the festive period.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Acknowledging those matches could prove the ultimate test of their mettle, Stevens reminded: "We didn't have back to back losses after the first two games (of last season). The manager always had in in him to get that reaction from us.

"We've got a strong character in the group. The staff, the manager and the players, none of us like losing. We want to take that momentum in and take that attitude in with us too."