Belfast Telegraph

Blades have cutting edge to carve open United

By Simon Peach

Sheffield United are confident of making Manchester United's "sticky season" even worse, with captain Jay McEveley saying all the pressure is on their FA Cup third-round opponents.

Louis van Gaal's side have struggled this campaign, with the pressure ratcheting up several notches after they ended 2015 without a win in eight matches - their worst run since 1989-90.

Last weekend's win against Swansea alleviated the pressure a touch, but Sky Bet League One play-off hopefuls United are hoping to pile it back on again when they travel across the Pennines tomorrow.

The Blades reached the Capital One Cup semi-finals last season and the final-four juncture of the FA Cup the year before that, so captain McEveley knows better than most the key to causing an upset.

"I think it was about going in relaxed - no pressure on you at all," the defender said of their recent cup successes."

"We're a League One club and all the pressure is on them on Saturday.

"They've had a sticky season so far to say the least, but we know what qualities they possess.

"We've got to be aware of that but, again, we go there relaxed because there's no pressure on us. I am sure (their form) can (be exploited). We are working on things, our game plan, on how we can cause them problems.

"We're not just going to go there, sit back and let them have all of the ball and not get in their faces at all. We'll do that at the right time.

"We've got a game plan, we're going to stick to it. We can score goals, we can cause teams problems with the players we've got and we're going to go there and try to do that." Sheffield United approach Saturday evening's match sitting eighth in the third tier after a recent resurgence, four points off the play-off spots.

Their illustrious hosts are fifth in the Barclays Premier League but McEveley does not expect his team-mates to freeze on the big stage, especially as a number of them have played United before.

The 30-year-old has even featured in a League Cup semi-final at Old Trafford, where he believes the Blades can give the 8,500 travelling fans a night to remember.

"Yeah, definitely," McEveley said when asked whether there was real belief they could win. It's happened before over the last couple of years, the cup runs that we've had.

"It depends. They've had indifferent form this season and obviously we're going to need a bit of luck going to Old Trafford, but teams in the Premier League need a bit of luck when they go to Old Trafford as well."

Swansea have appointed Alan Curtis as their manager until the end of the season.

The 61-year-old has been in caretaker charge since Swansea sacked Garry Monk on December 9 after a run of only one win in 12 games.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph