Olly writes his post-match thoughts after Sheffield United suffer defeat against Swansea.
I was at the Lane back on the Kop for yesterday evenings televised game against Swansea.
It was great to get back on the Kop after what seems like an age away from the Lane following last season’s campaign. The crowd was a decent size and were in very good spirits from prior to kick-off. You couldn’t hear the teams being announced for the singing from the United stands.
I think a few others around me were a bit startled with the line-up for the game for the starting eleven. Sharp was on the bench with McGoldrick the preferred partner for Leon, but more surprising was the midfield line-up. Lundstram, Basham and Fleck were the first choice. Egan made his debut at the back alongside JOC, with Stevens and Baldock as the attacking wing-backs.
I know it’s the first game and we’ve not got too much of a track record for opening games, but the first half was pretty decent. It wasn’t as attacking as last season, perhaps the new lads and the hot conditions were a factor in this, but we seemed to run down the wings and then hold the ball up which was unlike last season’s constant bombardment of the opposition with crosses.
I was happy that Baldock netted our opener, however, we hadn’t had that many chances to be honest as I think Swansea had done their homework with regards to the strikers we fielded. You can’t blame the front two for not trying though, seemed a lot of long-ball play going on and missing midfield completely. It was obvious why though, as there wasn’t any connectivity between our midfielders and I agreed with the guys around where I was sat that Lundstram wasn’t up to scratch. His passes weren’t going anywhere and he was constantly losing the ball. With a team like Swansea, they were pretty fast on the counter and the last thing you need is a fast counter after gifting the ball away. He wasn’t the only one at fault though. Enda made an error of judgement which led to their goal, but I was looking forward to Egan, after all the hype and the record transfer fee we paid for him, I thought he would be a stalwart alongside JOC. That wasn’t at all true though, he looked shaky and wasn’t as efficient as Wright who was there for some games last season, as well as Bash. I’m not convinced as yet he was worth the four million we paid for him to be honest, maybe it’s early doors and he needs a bit more time to settle, but I hope he does quickly so that we don’t cave in at the back.
I listened to BBC Radio Sheffield Praise or Grumble on my way home for the match and caught CW interview and can understand why he picked Lundstram over Duffy to start, but he did leave it late for Duffy to be introduced, but when he was he made an immediate change to the team. We went from a flat midfield not going anywhere to playing more attacking football, which is what we could have done with earlier. Sharp came on late on to try and get a result, and although he was putting the leg-work in it wasn’t to be. Woodburn made an appearance late on as well. Seemed to do well, but not quite there as yet, we had a chance to equal it but instead of letting the ball go past him to Leon, he got his boot on it and deflected it to a Swansea player instead. I think he needs a bit more time to settle, having only just joined the squad.
I was surprised not to see Moore start in the onion bag, and Henderson between the sticks. He did well I reckon and is a good prospect, but I would have thought Moore should be our number one.