Owen Hargreaves thinks Sheffield United have shown signs of beating relegation.
It’s after watching the Blades beat his former team Manchester United in the Premier League.
The division’s bottom side pulled off arguably the biggest shock of the season so far by winning 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Goals from Kean Bryan and Oli Burke either side of a Harry Maguire equaliser secured only their second league victory of 2020/21.
Despite the result, the Blades remain bottom of the table and 10 points from safety after 20 games.
Yet Hargreaves thinks there is plenty for Chris Wilder and his team to be positive about.
“It’s unlikely, let’s be honest,” the ex-England international told the official Premier League website when asked if the South Yorkshire side will avoid the drop. “But I think that result was unlikely. I don’t think anybody would have anticipated that.
“If they can defend like they did today and find a way to score first and have something to defend, then they are hard to play against. They get so many bodies behind the ball.
“It’s incredibly unlikely – eight points after 20 games. They’re a long way back, but they showed real bravery. Not only at 1-1, but even to chase the game at 2-1.
“They sensed there was something there for them and you’ve got to credit them for that.”
What Owen Hargreaves says is true
If the Blades are to pull off a great escape, then their defensive resolve will be key.
Without the suspended John Egan, veteran centre-back Phil Jagielka was called into the starting XI against Man United.
At 38-years-old, Jagielka rolled back the years to put in a stoic display at the back.
Bryan was also influential in only his 10th appearance for the club, playing in an unfamiliar wing-back role and getting on the scoresheet.
When Wilder’s men surprised many last term by finishing ninth in their first Premier League campaign in 12 years, they relied on a strong defence.
Only the eventual top three conceded fewer than them as the Blades secured their highest league position since 1992.
Even this season, having lost 16 of their 20 league fixtures to date, they’ve rarely been defensively awful. 12 of those defeats have been by a single goal.
Hargreaves is therefore right to highlight their backline in particular. If the Blades are to climb out of the bottom three, defence will be crucial to their success.