Manager Chris Wilder has backed his Sheffield United side to become more streetwise in the Championship as they acclimatise to life in the second tier.
United returned to the division this season after a six-year absence and made a winning start with victory over Brentford on the opening day.
A 3-2 win over Walsall in the Carabao Cup followed, before Wilder’s men saw their seven-month unbeaten run controversially ended away at Middlesbrough last weekend.
They then went down 2-0 to Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City on Tuesday, but Wilder said: “The confidence is there, the desire that we’ve instilled into the players is there. For the new players integrating into the group, that is good.
“There’s a lot of things that have been pleasing, especially when you step up a level.
“There’s certain things, as we totally understand, that we need to get better at, which we need to work on.”
Promotion to any division, but particularly one as competitive as the Championship, will inevitably result in a marked step-up in the quality of opposition and Wilder, who has four promotions on his managerial CV, admitted: “The main difference is possibly the speed of play and the intensity.
“Whether teams are closing you down, or the speed of the way they move the ball around the pitch, it’s gone up a level.
“But Ive said to the players, they will get used to that. They will get used to playing at that intensity and playing against teams that put that pressure on you.
“They’ve been used to playing in certain situations and at certain intensities but from what I’ve seen, I’m confident that all of them can deal with that step up.”
Wilder’s sentiments were shared by midfielder Samir Carruthers, a player with previous experience of the Championship from his time with MK Dons.
Carruthers, who rubbished rumours he was unhappy at the club last season, has started the first three league fixtures of the season.
“There’s better quality and when you do make mistakes they’re going to be punish you for it. I think that’s what we need to do as well – be as ruthless as them,” the 24-year-old said. “I think we’ve got the players to be ruthless. I think we all belong here and the team belongs here and we will do well here.”