Blades manager Chris Wilder said his players might have been expecting a roasting from him at the final whistle – but insisted that they did not deserve one following a performance he felt had merited far more.
Mark Warburton admitted it was a vital three points for Forest, on a day when they did not deliver their best performance, but still managed to end a frustrating run of form with success over the high-flying Blades.
Forest had lost three Championship games on the bounce, but headed into the international break in positive mood after goals from Jason Cummings and Kieran Dowell helped them claw their way back from behind following John Lundstram’s second-minute opener for the Blades.
“I don’t know whether to cry or smile, but I think I will go down the smiling route because it was confirmed today that my team has landed in the Championship, with the performance we produced,” said Wilder. “It was an outstanding performance, one that did not get rewarded with a win.
“But I am not going soft because we have won games this season and I want us to win games moving forward.
“Some of the boys might have expected a rocket today. They do not deserve a rocket.
“People will walk away from this game and see what we have done to Nottingham Forest. We have not married up a performance with a result. We made a couple of mistakes that were clinically punished.
“But we pushed them back, pushed them back and pushed them back. It was an outstanding performance against a good side.”
The Reds, on the other hand, had played well against Fulham in midweek but ended up losing and Warburton admitted his side had not played as well against United either, but praised them for showing the character to grind out a much-needed victory at the City Ground.
“It is a vital three points because of the recent run of results – and I mean results, not performances. I could sense the tension on and off the pitch, so it felt like a very important three points,” said Warburton.
“We played very well against Fulham and came away with nothing. We did not hit the same heights this afternoon, but came away with three points.
“There are lessons to be learned from this, of course, but the most important thing is that we go into the international break with a victory, following a poor run of results.
“We have to learn, but you only learn from your mistakes.”
Nottingham Forest: Smith, Worrall, Mancienne, Fox (Bouchalakis 46), Darikwa, Bridcutt, Osborn, Traore, Dowell (Clough 80), Cummings (Brereton 76), Murphy. Unused substitutes: Lichaj, McKay, Henderson, Walker.
Sheffield United: Blackman, Basham, Carter-Vickers, O’Connell, Baldock (Wright 34), Lundstram (Brooks 61), Coutts, Fleck, Stevens, Duffy, Donaldson (Clarke 57). Unused substitutes: Moore, Sharp, Lafferty, Carruthers.
Referee: A Davies (Hampshire).