There is no relief at Sheffield United, who is “killing ourselves” in games and looking like a massive underdog in the fight to remain in the Premier League.
Blades have two points through 17 Premier League matches this season, drifting further away from top-flight safety with a 2-0 loss at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
[ MORE: What’s happened to Sheffield United? ]
It is the worst winless streak to start a campaign in Premier League history and the longest from the start of a top-flight season since Bolton Wanderers (22) in 1902-03.
“We are killing ourselves because we have to score three to win the game today,” said Oliver Norwood, via the BBC. “We need a clean sheet as well. … We have to keep believing, keep working hard, there are still plenty of points to play for but we need a win.”
About those points…
While few would project a single-digit season for the Blades, who’ve been quite unlucky at times this season, survival is another story.
“The naivete of the team, from the first goal we’ve given away to the goal just before halftime, and then you’re up against experienced players, an experienced campaigner in Roy, and some quality and a really established Premier League club. And we don’t look like an established Premier League club. It’s going to be an incredible struggle to do that from the position that we’re in.”
The season is two matches from its midpoint. Let’s imagine the magical “40-point” mark as necessary for safety. Blades need 38 more from 21 matches, or roughly 1.81 points-per-game.
Had a team done that over the first 16 matches of this season, they’d current sit sixth. The way point-sharing is going this crazy season, it’s very difficult to imagine Blades getting there without wild reinforcements (and a healthy Sander Berge).
“Missing nine players for any football club in this division with the resources that they’ve got would hurt them, and it’s certainly going to hurt Sheffield United,” Wilder said.
🗣 "We don't look like an established Premier League club."
Chris Wilder post-match reaction to Sheffield United's loss to Crystal Palace pic.twitter.com/vaerwLjHhL
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 2, 2021