Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, insisted his players can win promotion this season if they replicate their performance at Old Trafford between now and the end of the League One campaign.
Adkins made the claim after watching the visitors bow-out of the FA Cup in heartbreaking fashion when Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of Saturday’s tie against Manchester United in the 93rd minute.
“We need to take the positives of it,” Adkins said.
“We had a challenging start to the season and have now been able to keep a consistency of team selection and that has been reflected in the results.
“We had 8,500 supporters here and they saw a team that is competitive and one which works hard.
“It might not technically be the best at times, but we have a team which showed what is required if you are going to be a Sheffield United player in the city of Sheffield.
“There was honest hard graft and determination to give it your best. One for your team-mates and two, for your club.
“We saw that and the supporters have appreciated that.
“If you give everything you have got, then the supporters of Sheffield United will certainly get behind you. We have demonstrated that and hopefully it will take us moving forward as a football club for the remainder of the season.”
Adkins described the backing United received during the third round fixture as “phenomenal”.
“We had 8,500 supporters today and I think they appreciated the effort and commitment of the players on show,” he added.
“You need them all through the game and you could see us as a football club really come together.”
“You might not ever be the best technically, but if you can show heart, desire and character and give everything you have got, then I know the supporters of Sheffield United will appreciate that. We have been on a run where you can see that.”
Ninth-placed United resume their bid for Championship football at Wigan Athletic, in fifth, tomorrow before travelling to Colchester this weekend.
“Recovery strategies have started as we have Wigan and Colchester away now,” Adkins said. “For me, it is tough just after Christmas for supporters. The support they gave us yet again was something else and we’ve got that togetherness as a football club. When you can see a group of players giving it everything they have got, it can only be good for us going forward.
“What we can affect now is getting us ready for Tuesday. It was a good effort, just a shame we didn’t see it out to get ourselves a replay and then back to Bramall Lane.”