Sheffield United: John Lundstram identifies the one mistake his team mates must not make if they want to reach the Championship play-offs

Sheffield United midfielder John Lundstram
Sheffield United midfielder John Lundstram

John Lundstram has insisted Sheffield United will not sacrifice their attacking principles in pursuit of a Championship play-off place despite being caught by a late sucker punch at Bristol City.

But the midfielder, speaking after Marley Watkins' goal ended the visitors' four match winning streak, acknowledged they must master the art of "taking something from nip and tuck games" or risk losing ground in the race for Premier League football.

"I think that match just shows how tight the division is going to be," Lundstram said. "There were two good teams out there and I don't believe anyone is going to run away with the division like Wolves did last year. It looks like being much closer this time around so, although what happened was a real disappointment, we've got to learn from it and then put the lessons into effect.

"I thought we deserved to take something away with us. What we've got to do going forward is make sure, when we do deserve to take something, that we get some reward rather than come away with nothing."

City climbed above United into third after surviving some prolonged periods of pressure before wrestling back the initiative during the closing stages. 

Although Lundstram justifiably claimed both teams had showcased their promotion credentials, he argued it would be a mistake for fifth-placed United to temper their approach in order to become more adept at grinding out points.

"Credit to the gaffer, he's got us going out there and trying to attack sides," he continued. "Good sides as well, it doesn't matter. That's the way he sets us up and we're all pushing in the same direction. We're a tight knit bunch and there's no bad eggs in the dressing room."

Not for the first time this season though, Wilder had reason to bemoan United's profligacy as David McGoldrick missed a hat-trick of first-half chances during a fiercely contested encounter at Ashton Gate.

With Birmingham City scheduled to visit Bramall Lane on Wednesday night, the sight of numerous opportunities going begging could persuade the 50-year-old and his staff the time is right to award Conor Washington his full debut or recall Leon Clarke to the starting line-up. Both men were introduced as substitutes after being named on the bench against Lee Johnson's side.

Despite his obvious frustration - "The fact is, we were losing footballers out there and that's not a feeling we like" - Wilder leapt to the defence of his squad after Watkins' 81st header ensured Saturday's contest finished in City's favour.

"I thought the lads played well, really well at times, especially before the break," he said. "Credit to them (City) as well, because they came back. But I felt we could, should, have been one or two goals up by then.

"If we'd have scored first, I think we would have gone on the get something because, in the Championship, the first goal is crucial. The statistics tell you that."