Sheffield United finished strongly to beat Queens Park Rangers 3-1 on Friday evening at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
The Blades took a huge step towards finishing in the Championship play-off places, with Middlesbrough, Millwall and Blackburn Rovers needing maximum points from their final two outings to put Paul Heckingbottom’s men under pressure.
It has been some turnaround since Heckingbottom replaced Slavisa Jokanovic in the dugout at the back end of 2021, and with senior players like Jack Robinson and Conor Hourihane stepping up and getting on the scoresheet to pick up the three points, the Blades will be optimistic about their chances of sealing an immediate return to the top-flight.
Here, we have taken a look at three things we clearly learnt about Sheffield United after their 3-1 win at QPR…
Ndiaye is capable
Heckingbottom might have stumbled across something very positive, despite having had little choice but to deploy Iliman Ndiaye as a lone striker in West London.
The Frenchman has been involved in more advanced roles since the attacking injury crisis at Bramall Lane, but he demonstrated clear potential playing on his own against three QPR centre backs.
Set piece strength
With the aerial prowess of Jack Robinson, John Egan and Chris Basham, the Blades could go on to utilise set pieces very effectively in the final knockings of the campaign.
With Oliver Norwood and Conor Hourihane, if needed, providing high quality deliveries from dead ball situations the Blades will be very threatening.
Basham provided an extremely intelligent assist for Robinson with a dangerous header across goal to edge United in front on Friday evening.
Sheffield United quiz: Does Bramall Lane have a bigger or smaller capacity than these 20 stadiums?
Heckingbottom has been very careful with his management of the fitness of Sander Berge this season, knowing just how influential he can be when fully firing.
That attention to detail appears to be paying dividends, and the Norwegian played a huge hand in servicing the forwards at QPR.
Morgan Gibbs-White has had an outstanding season player just behind a central striker, but playing him and Berge as dual number tens takes the Blades’ attacking threat to a whole new level.
It will be interesting to see what XI Heckingbottom names in the play-offs, potentially, with Billy Sharp set to throw himself into contention in the coming weeks.