Lack of cutting edge let Blades down this season admits David McGoldrick

David McGoldrick summed up Sheffield United’s season in one sentence in the wake of Saturday night’s long-overdue victory against Brighton.

All smiles: Sheffield United goalscorer David McGoldrick and interim manager Paul Heckingbottom at the end of the 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Bramall Lane. Picture: Simon bellis/Sportimage

The 33-year-old attacker bagged his seventh Premier League goal of the campaign on 19 minutes to earn the Blades what was just their fifth success in 33 top-flight attempts.

Rooted to the foot of the table for some time, the Bramall Lane club’s fate was sealed last week when they lost a must-win game 1-0 at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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That defeat rendered the outcome of this weekend’s fixture – and the five that follow it – inconsequential as far as United are concerned, but in reality they have been staring demotion back to the Championship in the face for months.

Relief: David McGoldrick scores the winner against Brighton to earn them a rare Premier League win. Picture: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

This most recent of their all-too-infrequent triumphs this term took them to 17 points and at least ensured that they would not finish 2020/21 with the second-worst overall tally for a season in Premier League history, but the statistics do not make for pleasant reading.

Twenty six losses in 33 matches is woeful form by anyone’s standards. Last year’s surprise package have clearly been hit by a severe case of ‘second season syndrome’.

On paper, it would appear obvious that they have been dreadful. Except that, they haven’t been. Not at all.

Of the 26 games that they have finished empty-handed, the South Yorkshiremen have been beaten by a single-goal margin on 16 occasions. Ten of those reverses have been by a 1-0 scoreline.

They’ve been very much in the majority of the contests that they have ended up losing. The problem is that the Blades have been blunted, hitting the back of the net just 18 times in the league and drawing a blank on no fewer than 18 occasions.

Match-winner McGoldrick couldn’t have put it any better post-Brighton.

“We just haven’t been clinical, that’s the story of our season,” he reflected.

“We just haven’t been clinical enough, where as last season we were. It was good to finish off the move [against Brighton] and get a goal. I could have scored more this season, but hopefully I can get a few more and build some momentum going into next season.

“We’re all gutted. We’ve been gutted a lot this season about the results. It hurts us, but, we have just got to try and build for next season and to get a victory against them [Brighton] is some kind of a morale-boost for us. They’re a good team.”

Sheffield United: Ramsdale; Baldock, Egan, Bryan; Bogle, Norwood, Fleck, Osborn (Lundstram 81), Stevens; Brewster(Burke 65), McGoldrick. Unused substitutes: Foderingham, Mousset, Lowe, Jagielka, Ampadu, Brunt, Gordon.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Sanchez; Webster, Dunk, Veltman; Gross (Jahanbakhsh 67), Lallana, Bissouma, Moder (Connolly 67); Trossard (Izquierdo 82); Maupay, Welbeck. Unused substitutes: Steele, MacAllister, Alzate, Propper, Zeqiri, Burn.

Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).

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