Sander Berge thanks Sheffield United and their fans for his "special" moment

Sander Berge, Sheffield United’s record signing, has described making his debut for the club as a “special” moment after helping Chris Wilder’s side continue their challenge for a place in Europe next term.

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 2:24 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 3:34 pm

Berge started United’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, which moved them to within five points of fourth-placed Chelsea, despite completing a £22m move from Genk only two days earlier.

Although he acknowledged the pace of English football had come as a shock to the system, the Norway international admitted he had been impressed by both the fighting spirit and the calibre of his new team mates.

“I’d only been at the club for a short time so to go straight in was special,” Berge said. “I enjoyed it and tried to make the best of it.

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“It’s an easy team to adapt to because we have a clear plan of how we want to play.

“But it’s the Premier League and I’m used to Belgium. I think I worked harder in 60 minutes than I ever did in 90 in Belgium. It’s a new world for me.”

United finished the afternoon in fifth after Vicente Guaita, the Palace goalkeeper, dropped an Oliver Norwood corner across his own line.

Berge, aged 21, was withdrawn during the closing stages and also thanked the away supporters, many of whom were displaying Norwegian flags, for helping him immediately settle in England.

Crystal Palace's James McArthur is challenged by Sheffield United's Sander Berge during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London: Paul Terry/Sportimage

United, who return to action when AFC Bournemouth travel to Bramall Lane on Sunday, also added Panos Retsos, Richairo Zivkovic, Jack Robinson and Jack Rodwell to their squad before last week’s transfer deadline.

Robinson was an unused subsitute at Selhurst Park while Retsos and Zivkovic, signed on loan from Bayer Leverkusen and Changchun Yatai respectively, were not eligible for selection against Palace.

They are expected to feature when Eddie Howe’s side, who drew with United on the opening weekend of the new season, made the journey north.

“It’s easy to come into this team, even though I only had one and a half (training) sessions more or less,” Berge said. “But the fans and the way we fought in this game and got the win was brilliant.

“The pace and the intensity, there is never a break in the game and it goes faster.”

“It’s a different role to the one I’ve played before but I’ll grow into that role better and better,” Berge said. “The plan is to get better and better throughout the week.

“I just want to be the best I can be from the first moment and I tried to be out there but I’ll get better and better.”

Berge, who looks set to be deployed in a more advanced position than the one he adopted at the Luminus Arena, was inches away from connecting with a John Fleck cross during the opening exchanges of a match which also saw Palace’s Joel Ward escape a second-half red card. The defender was initially dismissed by Andy Madley before the referee, having reviewed his challenge with Enda Stevens on the pitchside monitor, cautioned him instead.