Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says playing at Sheffield United “feels like a cup game”.
The Blues are unbeaten in four Premier League matches since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as boss.
They’ve also won their last three games following a 2-1 victory against the Blades at Bramall Lane.
The visitors had to work for the three points in South Yorkshire, though, as they escaped an early penalty scare.
Ben Chilwell brought down Chris Basham and the spot-kick was given. Yet VAR ruled that Basham was offside in the build-up and the decision was overturned.
Mason Mount gave Chelsea the lead, but United equalised when Antonio Rudiger put the ball into his own net. That was also the first goal the West London side have conceded since Tuchel took charge.
Minutes later the Blues were awarded their own penalty and Jorginho sealed the win from 12 yards.
But despite facing the division’s bottom team, Tuchel expected a tough evening.
“You arrive in February in Sheffield and you know what’s waiting for you,” the German told Sky Sports.
“It feels like a cup game when you arrive here, against a team full of energy. They’re a very direct and physical team, so you have to accept that not all moments in this game are easy.
Tuchel continued: “The first 10/15 minutes were difficult to overcome, because they started with a lot of courage and we were lucky with the penalty.”
Praise from Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel
The Blades failed to capitalise on West Bromwich Albion losing to Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the day.
A point would have taken them off the foot of the table.
With Fulham, Burnley, Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion all picking up points over the weekend, the gap between themselves and safety has gotten bigger.
There is now 12 points between Chris Wilder’s side and the Clarets in 17th.
However, it was another decent performance against one of the top flight’s biggest clubs. Especially as they are rejuvenated under Tuchel.
Despite the result, the Blades can take confidence from their display into Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth round tie with Bristol City.
After that they face West Ham United and Fulham in successive away games and they should be targeting victories in both.
Avoiding relegation may still be beyond the Blades, but signs continue to be good – even in defeat.