Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has insisted his players have no reason to feel downcast despite taking only a point from their last two home games.
United are preparing for Saturday’s visit to Millwall ranked third in the Championship table, eight points ahead of seventh placed Middlesbrough, after winning 12 of their 19 games since lifting the League One title last term.
But being held to a draw by Birmingham City - four days after finishing on the wrong end of a 5-4 scoreline when Fulham visited Bramall Lane - has prompted some supporters to express fears United could struggle to maintain their impressive form as the season approaches the halfway stage.
“We’ve got no right to be in the position we are, absolutely no right,” Wilder, leaping to the defence of his players, said. “We are enjoying it, being in the Championship, and the players are enjoying it. We are talking Championship players, who people have played £4m, £5m, £7m or whatever for, we are up against. Players who are on big money. And we are doing this.”
United travel to The Den averaging 1.95 points per game and having scored 12 goals in their previous four outings.
“We are going to take small steps backwards but the quality, the level and the consistency of the performances is, for me, excellent,” Wilder said. “I’m delighted with the group, individually and as a team.
“Maybe we didn’t get our reward last time out but we will over the course of a season if we keep that up. We’re not a spike team, we don’t win 3-0 or 4-0 and then get beat 5-0.”
“Look how far we’ve come, when a team like Birmingham, who were one of the promotion favourites, is delighted to get a draw here,” he added.