Sheffield United’s promotion hopes received a massive boost on Saturday afternoon.
Iliman Ndiaye’s 47th minute strike separated the Blades and Cardiff City as United earned a crucial three points.
The score finished 1-0 as Paul Heckingbottom’s side held their nerve to maintain their 6th place position in the Championship table.
Millwall in 7th are only three points behind as the league draws to a close in the next couple of weeks.
Here are three things we learned as United won 1-0 over Steve Morison’s side…
Strength in depth in attack
Gibbs-White and Ndiaye combined well for the goal to show that there is strength in the depth of this United side.
With Billy Sharp absent through injury, the two showed that there is no need to rely solely on their talisman up front.
The 36-year old is the team’s top scorer and has been crucial to their promotion chasing exploits.
But in his absence, Ndiaye stepped up and took control of the game with his goal at the start of the second half.
This will be hugely important for the rest of their season, another Sharp injury is less likely to derail their promotion bid during the play-offs.
Cardiff were limited to just one shot on target and only five shots total. United also controlled possession, claiming 55 per cent of the ball.
That massively eased the pressure off the attack and was an impressive defensive display.
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Cardiff simply never looked like scoring throughout the game, which bodes extremely well for Heckingbottom’s side if they do make the play-offs.
Having that kind of security at the back could be the difference in the final weeks of the season.
Handling the pressure moments well
The pressure to make the play-offs is also a massive issue for the players to deal with mentally.
That they were able to get through this game and professionally earn three points without any real mistakes was incredibly impressive.
With only two weeks left, that pressure will continue to ramp up until their fate for the season is sealed.
United made light work of Cardiff, who could’ve posed a problem considering the Bluebirds have little pressure to deal with as their position in mid-table is secure.