Morgan encourages Blades to play without apprehension

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Manager Chris Morgan wants his Sheffield United players to 
believe in themselves as they look to complete the job that Danny Wilson started.

Wilson was sacked as Blades boss on Wednesday because of a woeful home record that has threatened the Blades’ chances of promotion.

Morgan has five games, including three at Bramall Lane starting today against Swindon, to cut a six-point deficit to the top two.

And if they have to go through the play-offs, a strong showing in the semi-final leg at home will be of vital importance.

Morgan does not know why the Blades – so effective on the road – have been so ineffectual at home, winning just once since Boxing Day and not scoring for six hours’ play.

But even though today is his first game in senior management, he feels that if his United players believe in their ability, both individually and collectively, that will go a long way to curing their ills.

“The players have to go out there and play, they have to go out there and believe in themselves, they have to show what good players they are,” said the 35-year-old who has served the club for 10 years.

“I know what good players they are, I’m privileged to watch them every day in training, I know the qualities they have got.

“But football changes when you pull that kit on and cross that white line.

“The pressures are there. So I want them to have a self-belief in what we’ve got as a group and in certain individuals.”

Morgan, who has stepped up from his role as the club’s Under-21s coach, has inherited a squad that has never been out of the top six all season.

United have lost just seven games all campaign, but Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Crawley in the first of three successive games at the Lane magnified the home issue, and resulted in Wilson’s dismissal.

“If I knew what was wrong I’d have aired it a lot quicker than this,” said Morgan, when asked about the failures at Bramall Lane. “Is it pressures from playing at home? Is it the big crowds? Do we freeze?

“Because the team structures are there, the players are there, the ability is there, so there has to be something.

“We’ll have a look at it and address everything we can. As a coaching staff there’s only so much we can do.

“These players have put themselves in a fantastic position and it will be they who clinch promotion or they who don’t, because they’re the privileged ones, the men who come in on a Saturday afternoon and pull that shirt on.”

Morgan sat his players down on Thursday morning after an emotional farewell to Wilson, and tried to rally his troops for the final run-in.

The increased passion on the sidelines from a man with the Blades in his heart may evoke a reaction from the players, but he also wants the Bramall Lane faithful to play their part.

“What we need is Bramall Lane rocking,” he said. “We need the fans to give us 100 per cent backing.

“Players will make mistakes. I’ll make mistakes. David Unsworth (assistant) will make mistakes. We all do because we’re all honest human beings.

“But it’s how we react to them, straight away. The supporters will back us, and I guarantee to them we will give everything we have.

“I’ve told the players it’s up to us to get them behind us because they’ll back us to the hilt.

“What I want to see at Bramall Lane is the fear from opposing players who used to hate coming here. I used to hate it when I was a Barnsley player. You know you’re going to be up against it and that’s what we need to do, we need to put teams under pressure.”

Unsworth’s aim: Page 2.