Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has insisted his players have the strength of character required to cope with the pressures of a promotion challenge, as the race for Premier League football prepares to enter a critical phase.
United are fourth in the table, only three points behind leaders Norwich City, after making an encouraging start to the season despite possessing the smallest budget of any top eight team.
Although they also started last term in impressive fashion before eventually finishing 10th, Wilder attributed United's indifferent results during the second-half of the campaign to squad-depth rather than psychology.
With Oliver Norwood, David McGoldrick and Conor Washington among those arriving at Bramall Lane since the end of the 2017/18 campaign, Wilder said: "We're better equipped now, I believe, than back then both in terms of numbers and experience.
"It wasn't anything to do with mentality, what happened last year, and the boys have shown they're ready to confront whatever gets thrown at them head-on."
Next Saturday''s visit to Rotherham United is the latest in a potentially pivotal sequence of matches for United as they attempt to consolidate their position ahead of the Christmas schedule. They travel to Brentford three days after their appearance at the New York Stadium before hosting arch-rivals Leeds at Bramall Lane.
Despite winning just once in five outings since the last international break Wilder, whose side were held to a goalless draw by Sheffield Wednesday earlier this month despite a dominant display, has insisted there is no cause for concern.
"The boys are performing and, if we carry on performing like we did in the derby, then we'll win plenty of games, I've got no worries about that whatsoever."