Premier League doubters shown Sheffield United's true colours with promising sign at Brighton
Sheffield United show more of what they are about with four points from two games
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Sheffield United have hit back at those who doubt their ability to compete at Premier League with four points from two games ahead of the international break - a mini-resurgence which has at least seen them climb off the foot of the top-flight table.
United went into the two-week break on the back of a battling draw away at Brighton, their first away point of the season just over a week after their first victory of a campaign that was shaping up to be one of struggle. The corner has not been fully turned yet but belief is growing, with results in their next two games after the break - at home to fourth-bottom Bournemouth and bottom club Burnley - could go a long way towards deciding their fate this season.
United rode their luck at times at the Amex, Wes Foderingham making a number of good stops to keep them in the game, before Mahmoud Dahoud's red card and Adam Webster's own goal turned it on its head. Jayden Bogle dragged wide a fantastic chance to earn United back-to-back wins but any sense of disappointment did not linger long.
"It's a very good point," said United skipper, and former Albion midfielder, Ollie Norwood. "It's always tough away from home in the Premier League and it was important, after we conceded early, to stay in the game and take it as long as we could.
"It was tough [in the first half]. "They're a very very good team. The way they play, they're very patient and can move you about. So it was difficult. Especially when you concede early, you can lose a little bit of belief but we stuck at it. From their point of view the red card probably changed the game but we were glad to score so early after that and we pushed, we tried, but it just wasn't to be.
"It's a very good point for us away from home. We've taken our fair share of beatings and the last couple of games has shown a little bit more like what we're about. We're fighting for our lives and to stay in this league and as players, we have to give everything we've got and see where it takes us."
What was noticeable about United's approach was their decision to step on the pedal after Albion were reduced to 10 men, sensing their moment to attack and freeing up defender Auston Trusty to add to their attacking arsenal. And the approach paid dividends when the former Gunners man began the move that saw Webster put through his own goal, with United unfortunate Bogle lost his composure afer a lovely flick from Cameron Archer.
"You've got to realise what we're playing against as well," Norwood added. "We're up against top players in the best league in the world. They're most dangerous sometimes when we have the ball because of their pace on the counter-attack. Every team has that and we were wary of it.
"At half-time it was about having more belief, being more aggressive. Get tighter to people, make a bit more contact. They had it a bit easy but the way they play is difficult to play against and we were a little bit more aggressive. Even before the red card we felt we were coming into the game and then we got the goal and pushed, but t just wasn't to be."