A first goal of the season for Oli McBurnie was one of the few positives for Sheffield United during yet another Premier League defeat on Sunday.
The Blades suffered their 10th loss in 11 league games in 2020/21 against Leicester City thanks to a 90th-minute winner from Jamie Vardy.
Manager Chris Wilder made his disappointment and anger clear after the match at Bramall Lane.
Wilder was particularly annoyed with Chris Basham and John Fleck’s involvement in Vardy’s late goal. They combined to gift possession to Leicester inside their own half.
It keeps United rock bottom of the table with just one point after making the worst start in Premier League history.
They are already six points from safety and five points behind 19th-placed West Bromwich Albion.
There were therefore understandably few positives to take from the defeat to the Foxes. But McBurnie’s first half header maybe offers a glimmer of hope.
Why McBurnie goal is so important
Anything that hits the back of the opposition net would be welcomed by the Blades currently.
McBurnie’s 26th-minute header was only their fifth league goal this term, It’s a joint record low in the top flight this campaign with fellow strugglers Burnley.
Yet the fact it was the Scotland international who netted it is arguably more poignant than normal.
McBurnie finished as joint top scorer for United last season after making a £20m (BBC Sport) move from Swansea City.
The 24-year-old scored six times in the league alongside Lys Mousset.
It shows that goals were at a premium last term too. Despite an overall impressive showing that ended with Wilder’s team finishing ninth in their first Premier League campaign in 12 years.
But McBurnie has come in for particular criticism this year, from both Blades fans and Scotland supporters.
This has been recognised by Wilder and his teammates, who have jumped to the striker’s defence in recent times.
McBurnie has wasted some good opportunities in recent weeks, it must be said. The Scot hit the bar in the 1-0 defeat to West Ham United. He should also have scored when the Blades lost by the same scoreline at West Bromwich Albion.
However, all players thrive on confidence – something which has been distinctly lacking among the United squad in 2020/21.
Hopefully this will give a little bit to McBurnie. Which could be vital, as his goals (or lack of them) might be the difference in whether they avoid relegation or not.