Assistant manager Stuart McCall laid down the gauntlet to Bramall Lane’s squad following Saturday’s defeat by Derby County - a result which left them 10 points outside of the play-off positions, albeit with three matches in hand on sixth-placed Middlesbrough.
The game was United’s first league outing since December 20, after meetings with Preston North End, Hull City, Queens Park Rangers and Chris Wilder’s side were postponed when the opposition complained injuries and Covid-19 outbreaks meant they were unable to go ahead as scheduled.
Although McCall’s decision to reference one of his favourite “mottos” after the loss at Pride Park was telling - providing an insight into the coaching staff’s thoughts about the performance - he told The Star: “You look at the table and we are behind on games. But it can also work another way, if we are winning.
“If we have game after game, and we are doing that, then it works to our advantage. There is half a season to go so lets not have any negativity. Don’t mope. Be disappointed. But also work to change it.”
“I have a motto and that’s, no matter what, you fight until the end,” he added. “No matter what happens, no matter if you concede, you fight until the last.”
United, who succumbed to Tom Lawrence’s second-half brace, return to action at North End on Tuesday.
“Today was a set-back but only a set-back,” McCall said. “We have to kick on now and we have to defend better.”