QPR v Sheffield United: Cups of comfort for Blades chief Clough

SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Nigel Clough is driven “mad” by his side’s “daft” mistakes in League One compared to their utter assuredness in cup football.

Nigel Clough

He hopes to see the latter again tomorrow when the Blades, having already reached the Capital One Cup semi-finals, aim to defeat Premier League QPR in the FA Cup third round.

They have already beaten top-flight West Ham and Southampton in the Capital One Cup and enjoyed similar success in their stunning run to the FA Cup semi-finals last season.

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Yet their league form has dipped markedly with no victories since November 15, a frustrating loss at Port Vale on Boxing Day having followed a disappointing draw against Walsall when both matches should have garnered wins.

Asked what the difference is, Clough said: “We haven’t made the daft little decisions and errors that we keep making in our league games.

“No-one got a free header against Southampton like Walsall did when we played them.

“We defended our set-plays well and Bob Harris was probably our best player against Southampton yet he’s cost us a couple of goals against Port Vale.

“That drives you mad, honestly, because we know it’s in there. But one of the reasons these lads are with us and not playing higher is they’re lacking that week in, week out consistency top players have.

“Chelsea lads roll on and on like a well-oiled machine, and top players like Frank Lampard have mental strength. It’s that package which enables them to deliver week in, week out.”

That said, Clough knows his side can still produce a vintage display tomorrow to provide supporters with yet more cup magic at the start of a hectic month he describes as “make or break” for their campaign.