Some Sheffield United fans are unhappy with the team’s current form since returning to action. Many have been vocal in that criticism.
It’s understandable, considering the Blades have lost two of their three Premier League games as part of ‘Project Restart’. They have conceded six goals and scored none. They’ve actually only had one shot on target in each of their three fixtures.
Going into their first game back after a three-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Blades were two points off fifth-placed Manchester United with a game in hand.
Despite it being their first top flight season in 12 years, there was realistic talk of European qualification. Now many are worried if Chris Wilder’s side will win another match in 2019/20.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why frustration has crept in. Yet some perspective is definitely needed.
Sheffield United fans should have longer memories
Less than four years ago and just four games into Wilder’s time as manager, the Blades lost 2-1 at Millwall. It was a result that left them bottom of League One in what was the beginning of their sixth successive year in the division.
Two matches later at Gillingham, the now famous overlapping centre-back system was introduced. Having lost three of their first four fixtures, they would suffer defeat just three more times in the league that term as they won the title with 100 points.
Two years later they were promoted back to the Premier League. It has been an upward trajectory so steep some seem to have forgotten what reality was like just a few short years ago.
By Wilder’s standards, the last three performances have not been good enough. Yet the club remains eighth, a position which if they retain until the end of the season, will be their best finish in 45 years.
Even if the Blades don’t pick up another point this term, it will still be their best showing since 1992/93. They had already mathematically avoided relegation before football was suspended.
Their draw at Aston Villa in the first game back after it was reinstated ensured their 44 points from 29 games was the best total from a newly promoted team since Birmingham City in 2009/10.
As is often the case, the negative reaction in some sections shows Wilder is a victim of his own success. Yet take a step back and view this campaign as what it actually is – a remarkable success.