Sheffield United star issues a pledge to the fans ahead of crucial relegation showdown
Sheffield United will refuse to surrender their Premier League status without a fight, midfielder John Fleck has insisted, irrespective of the result during this evening’s showdown with fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion.
Chris Wilder has described the game against Sam Allardyce’s side as a ‘must win’ encounter after watching his team slip 13 points adrift of safety following the latest round of fixtures.
With the visitors also deep in trouble - one place and four points ahead of United, who are bottom of the table - Fleck accepts anything other than a victory would leave Wilder’s men facing an almost impossible situation with only 16 matches remaining.
But he vowed: “We’ll keep on fighting. Regardless of what happens, we’ll keep fighting. If we go down, we go down. But we’ll go down fighting, because that’s the way we are built.”
Despite making a woeful start to the season, failing to win in 17 outings, United have rediscovered their form of late. After registering their first victory in the competition this term when Newcastle visited Bramall Lane last month, goals from Kean Bryan and Oliver Burke saw them beat title-contenders Manchester United at Old Trafford six days ago before pushing Manchester City close over the weekend. After Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal of the game during the opening exchanges, Fleck was agonisingly close to claiming an equaliser at the death.
After hearing Wilder insist that meetings with the likes of City will not define United’s campaign, Fleck said: “It’s not nice being at the bottom of the table but it’s up to us to get out of it. That’s what we’re trying to do, to lift ourselves out of the position we’re in and, to do that, you always want to beat the teams around you in the table. Football is such a weird game at times, you never know what is going to happen and that’s why we’ll keep on fighting until the end.”
Fleck, previously of Rangers and Coventry City, has won two promotions with United since leaving the Midlands in 2016 and was a member of the squad that finished ninth in the division last term.
“If we stay up then, yes, definitely, I think it will surpass everything else we’ve done here,” he said. “We know how big this is.”