DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, ordered his team not to feel sorry for themselves despite their heart-breaking defeat by Coventry City.
Wilson, who admitted Tuesday’s League One clash with Crawley Town is now a “big game,” insisted United can force themselves back into automatic promotion contention if they use their second-half performance as a template for the rest of the campaign.
“You can always gauge it by the fans,” Wilson said. “They’ve been brilliant with us and if we can start (against Town) the way we did after the break here then they’ll get right behind us.
“We’ve got to rally ourselves and not get despondent. We’ve got to do that ourselves in the dressing room.
“I don’t think we deserved that by what we did after the break but we got punished right at the end.”
Wilson, who included new signings Jonathan Forte and Barry Robson in his squad, added: “I thought they made a big difference. They’ll offer us a lot and you could see their talents out there.”
Leon Clarke was the architect of a win which moves seventh placed City to within a point of the play-off positions and condemned United, still in sixth, to their third straight home defeat.
Mark Robins’ team took a deserved lead when the former Sheffield Wednesday centre-forward converted Stephen Elliott’s cross before fellow striker Dave Kitson dragged a much improved United level after the break.
However Clarke’s late effort ensured the visitors continue to gather momentum following a woeful start to the campaign.
“We were good first half and not so good second,” Robin, previously of Rotherham United and Barnsley, said. “Sheffield United put us under unbelievable pressure with the balls they put into our box but Leon popped up there at the end.”