Sheffield United star admits it was great shoving it to the critics who said promotion was blown

Oli McBurnie has admitted that proving the critics who predicted Sheffield United would blow their automatic promotion chance last term wrong makes reaching the Premier League feel even sweeter.
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Speaking after celebrating the club’s return to the top-flight in front of thousands of supporters at a civic reception, the centre-forward revealed how Paul Heckingbottom’s side used claims that either Middlesbrough or Luton Town would pip them to second place as motivation during the closing stages of the campaign.

A number of pundits warned United they had surrendered their best chance of going up after being beaten by their rivals from the North-East in February. That result saw the gap between themselves and Michael Carrick’s side, then ranked third, cut to seven points. They eventually finished 11 points clear of their nearest challengers Luton, with Middlesbrough suffering a dip in form soon after their victory at Bramall Lane.

Oli McBurnie (centre) with his Sheffield united team mates Tommy Doyle, Billy Sharp, Jack Robinson, John Fleck Adam Davies and James McAtee: Paul Thomas /SportimageOli McBurnie (centre) with his Sheffield united team mates Tommy Doyle, Billy Sharp, Jack Robinson, John Fleck Adam Davies and James McAtee: Paul Thomas /Sportimage
Oli McBurnie (centre) with his Sheffield united team mates Tommy Doyle, Billy Sharp, Jack Robinson, John Fleck Adam Davies and James McAtee: Paul Thomas /Sportimage
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“I knew we wouldn’t fold,” McBurnie told The Star. “I knew because I know what the lads in the dressing room are like and how strong they are. I remember having a chat with a couple of the guys around that time and we all agreed it was going to be great to shut everyone up who’d been telling us that we were going to get overtaken.”

McBurnie, who is about to embark upon his third PL season with United, scored 15 goals as Heckingbottom’s men made sure of the runners-up berth with three matches to spare.

“I never had any doubts about these boys,” McBurnie said. “If you could see how close we are, see the characters in there, no one else would have done either.”