DEFENDER Tony McMahon believes Sheffield United’s poor start to the League One season has come as a shock to the club’s highly-rated youngsters, writes Richard Hercock.
The Blades have reached the play-offs in the last two years, but this season are stranded at the foot of the table after seven defeats in their opening nine games.
In the entire season last year United only lost nine games, and 27-year-old McMahon believes the Bramall Lane youngsters have needed to learn swiftly about life at the wrong end of the table.
“No one’s hiding, we are all in it together,” said the former Middlesbrough right-back. “The players, the manager, everyone associated with the club.
“We are in this together. We have experienced players, but have a lot of young players who need help. It’s the first time they have experienced this.
“They have probably been at Sheffield United all their careers, and the club has won more games than they have lost, especially over the last couple of years.
“They have come close twice to getting promoted and won a lot of games. We have probably lost as many games as we lost all last season in the opening few fixtures.
“It’s tough, but we know what we have to do to get out of it and that’s stick together, keep believing and we will turn it around.”
McMahon still recalls the horror of being demoted with Boro from the Premier League, but insists United are not yet in a relegation battle despite garnering just four points from their opening nine league games.
“I have been through it before, I was relegated from the Premier League with Middlesbrough. It was horrible, that will stick with me forever, but that made me stronger too.
“That’s what it will do to all of us, this sticky patch that we are in. It will make us all stronger for when we come out of it – because we will, we know we’re a good team.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Sheffield United are in a relegation fight, they are definitely not.
“There’s no given in football, like you are too good to go down, but the league doesn’t lie and we are bottom of the league.”
Last six: Sheffield United LDLLLL, Crawley LWWDDW.
Last time: Sheffield United 0 Crawley Town 2; April 9 2013; League One.
Referee: P Tierney (Lancs).