Sheffield United: Blades boss applauds Hillsborough tribute

Nigel Clough
Nigel Clough
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Nigel Clough’s heart went out to the families of the Hillsborough 96 today.

The Sheffield United manager played in the ill-fated FA Cup semi-final for Nottingham Forest against Liverpool at Hillsborough, where supporters were crushed to death.

Clough also played - and scored - in the previous semi-final at the same venue involving the same teams.

Clough’s Blades side joined in the tribute to the Hillsborough 96 at the Wembley semi-final against Hull City on Sunday.

“It was supposed, I think, to be a minute’s silence but people just started applauding and I think that was right,” he said.

“Because that’s the emotion they clearly felt.

“It was a day that we will never forget and our hearts and thoughts are with the families.”

Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray, has also commented: “No father, mother, son or daughter should lose anybdoy at a football game. It was just a sad, sad occasion.”

Meanwhile, Neill Collins has vowed that United will return better than ever next season following their FA Cup semi-final achievement.

United’s fairytale run to the last four of the famous competition was ended on Sunday, as they lost 5-3 in a thrilling clash with Yorkshire rivals Hull.

It ended United’s dreams of becoming the first ever third-tier club to reach the final.

“We went and had a go, there’s no doubt about that,” centre-half Collins said.

“We were fantastic in the first half. The two goals after half time knocked the wind out of our sails a bit but even then we never gave in. I’d like to think it will be a platform for next season, but it’s not as simple as that. We can’t take it for granted - we have to come back fitter, stronger and more determined than ever.”

United return to League One action on Friday evening when they host Stevenage at Bramall Lane - and Baxter has revealed how Clough has set his side a target of winning all five of their remaining games.

“That has to be the focus,” Baxter, who paid tribute to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster after scoring a 19th-minute opener, said.

“The gaffer wants us to win all five games left and give a real statement of intent. Hopefully we can hit the ground running next season and maybe even come back to Wembley again.”