The psychology of the situation cannot be underestimated.

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Kozzy_is_my_Dad

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Before I start, I should clarify that I don't think the performances have been good enough, that the signings haven't started to improve the side as yet, and the tactics have been below par. We have spent significantly in our own relative terms, but I also think the rest of the division has strengthened considerably.

I'm not about to make excuses, but to try and understand the psychology of the situation and the impact it is beginning to have. I'm interested in the idea that you "don't become a bad side overnight".

Wolves - I expected nothing, and we looked outclassed. We were poor.
Villa, the loss of Egan was significant and yet still, we were solid.
Leeds, we had a patched up side, after the loss of Egan and O'Connell. Not hard to see why we underperformed, but the loss of a Derby is a blow.
Add those together, and we're off to a disappointing start.

Then, the loss of key players needs to be factored in - O'Connell, Fleck and Mousset. We don't have the depth of quality that most of the division have, we need to all to be fit, and all to be at it. We cannot accommodate the loss of our best players as easily as the rest. A patched up side loses form, an out of form side loses confidence. No excuses again, just reality.

Then, we play Liverpool, City and Chelsea on the bounce. The top 3 elect, IMO. We realistically expect nothing from those three games, they're some of the best sides in the world. Let's not forget, by the way, we were 'at it' at points against Liverpool and solid, but not creative against City. It isn't all bad. But the lack of points, on top of the already disappointing start, and the unfortunate luck and the anxiety and lack of confidence begins to build. When much of above, has been out of our control.

The psychology and the confidence isn't the only reason, but it is an important one. Then you see it starting to manifest itself in Wilder blaming external issues (e.g. missing his first choice targets) and a change of attitude, i.e. saying we can't go toe to toe with the best sides. We realistically know that, we knew it last season too and none of us would expect us to do that for a full 90. But the attitude then was one of being willing to have a go. The difference is, we wouldn't have said that last season, it's now being said and repeated this season, and that will affect mindset. We can't take all the fault for our position, as much has been out of our control - but equally we can't get sucked into feeling all 'woe is us' and 'poor little old Sheffield United'.

The hunger needs to return, being 'at it' and using the underdog mantra in a plucky rather than defeatist manner.

UTB 🔴⚪⚔️
 

Davalon

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100% agree.

The mental approach is huge and it's that that concerns me going forward.

People are talking about tough starts but the pressure is mounting with each passing game and every game against bottom half opposition suddenly becomes a 6 pointer or must win even this early.

We had the opportunity to play with more freedom last season as it went on but the pressure will likely tell more in the games we have against the West Hams, West Broms etc
 

Maidenhead

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Before I start, I should clarify that I don't think the performances have been good enough, that the signings haven't started to improve the side as yet, and the tactics have been below par. We have spent significantly in our own relative terms, but I also think the rest of the division has strengthened considerably.

I'm not about to make excuses, but to try and understand the psychology of the situation and the impact it is beginning to have. I'm interested in the idea that you "don't become a bad side overnight".

Wolves - I expected nothing, and we looked outclassed. We were poor.
Villa, the loss of Egan was significant and yet still, we were solid.
Leeds, we had a patched up side, after the loss of Egan and O'Connell. Not hard to see why we underperformed, but the loss of a Derby is a blow.
Add those together, and we're off to a disappointing start.

Then, the loss of key players needs to be factored in - O'Connell, Fleck and Mousset. We don't have the depth of quality that most of the division have, we need to all to be fit, and all to be at it. We cannot accommodate the loss of our best players as easily as the rest. A patched up side loses form, an out of form side loses confidence. No excuses again, just reality.

Then, we play Liverpool, City and Chelsea on the bounce. The top 3 elect, IMO. We realistically expect nothing from those three games, they're some of the best sides in the world. Let's not forget, by the way, we were 'at it' at points against Liverpool and solid, but not creative against City. It isn't all bad. But the lack of points, on top of the already disappointing start, and the unfortunate luck and the anxiety and lack of confidence begins to build. When much of above, has been out of our control.

The psychology and the confidence isn't the only reason, but it is an important one. Then you see it starting to manifest itself in Wilder blaming external issues (e.g. missing his first choice targets) and a change of attitude, i.e. saying we can't go toe to toe with the best sides. We realistically know that, we knew it last season too and none of us would expect us to do that for a full 90. But the attitude then was one of being willing to have a go. The difference is, we wouldn't have said that last season, it's now being said and repeated this season, and that will affect mindset. We can't take all the fault for our position, as much has been out of our control - but equally we can't get sucked into feeling all 'woe is us' and 'poor little old Sheffield United'.

The hunger needs to return, being 'at it' and using the underdog mantra in a plucky rather than defeatist manner.

UTB 🔴⚪⚔️
Agreed.

Unfortunately because last season went so well, for many the expectations for this season have rocketed.

Confidence is fragile and we really need a result soon so that we have something positive to build on.

I'm still optimistic that we will be ok.
 

Hague Blade

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And that also rolls on - loyalty to Wilder is admirable, but if we did go down, say with a really shitty points total, the hangover next season would be massive. Losing’s a habit, be much harder than we think to turn it around in the division below.
 

Kozzy_is_my_Dad

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Fear is an interesting factor too. Fear of looking bad, fear of making mistakes, fear of the PL stage, fear of looking a bad side. Often the fear is the worst aspect, when the 'worst case scenario' actually happens it can be quite liberating.

Which it has. We're bottom, one point and bang out of form, making mistakes. Stop fearing it now, as it's happened. Now, we can shift to a mindset of growth and making steps of progress.
 

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Fear is an interesting factor too. Fear of looking bad, fear of making mistakes, fear of the PL stage, fear of looking a bad side. Often the fear is the worst aspect, when the 'worst case scenario' actually happens it can be quite liberating.

Which it has. We're bottom, one point and bang out of form, making mistakes. Stop fearing it now, as it's happened. Now, we can shift to a mindset of growth and making steps of progress.
Indeed, and you can see this in some of the 'safe' passes that we are making on the field.

As you say, nothing to lose or fear now, the only way indeed is up!
 

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Pretty much the only positive is that we are not marooned at the bottom at least two wins behind all the other teams near the bottom. Lots can change of course, but it seems likely that three of the bottom four at present will go down, and we've got to hope that we can gain more points than WBA, Fulham and Burnley.

I truly believe that we are a better team and squad than these clubs, but eight games in and we've still yet to put in one good all round performance and that has to change soon. We've had good periods, the first 15 minutes on Saturday for example was really positive against an excellent team, but it won't be nearly enough even against the supposed lessor teams. I completely agree with the OP, we need to regain that "toe to toe" psychology. We all know that we have to hang in there in some games, but the last two after match interviews were a worry to me, all about how amazing the other team are and we can't compete. What's the point being here then? I love Wilder to bits, but he needs to give himself a kick up the arse and start getting everyone (himself included) going again.

I'm not generally of the view that particular games are "must win", but we really need to get a win against West Ham to reverse this horrendous trend of results. I don't feel confident right now that we can win, they are better than they were last season, but still believe there is enough about us to do it. And I like to hear us talk ourselves up a bit more ahead of the game.
 

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I agree with most of what is being said.

however last season all the talk from wilder was of ‘having a go’ not going out the back door.

This season it’s all been ‘we can’t compete’ ‘they have too much money’ and moaning about referring decisions. That must have some impact on performances. I don’t know where all our confidence has gone given this shite run came off the back of 10 points in 4 games against Chelsea, Tottenham, wolves and Burnley - what happened!
 

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Some good point in this thread...attitude is so important.
Another factor that seems to be effecting us more than other teams.....is a lack of a crowd....Bramall Lane is the PL is an impressive place.
Last season even Liverpool’s captain Van Dijk admitted the hostility from the Bramall Lane crowd made it tough for his Liverpool team to perform.

I remember Talksport interviewing McBurnie a few months ago. He said that some players are better in training and struggle with pressure from a crowd
where as others are opposite, can be poor in training but perform well on the big stage.

McBurnie said he prefers a crowd....he loves the banter, pressure and support.
Said he thinks he plays better when a crowd are reacting to his every move...it gives him an added lift.
 
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Stretch

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Very good points made.

It's getting harder to be optimistic at the moment, but optimistic I tend to be by nature, where Wilder and the boys are concerned.

So on that basis, I am going to postulate that the first win will also impact psychology hugely, lifting morale and confidence, and it will lead to us going on a little run.

It's going to be a slog though.
 

Greasy Chap Butty

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Before I start, I should clarify that I don't think the performances have been good enough, that the signings haven't started to improve the side as yet, and the tactics have been below par. We have spent significantly in our own relative terms, but I also think the rest of the division has strengthened considerably.

I'm not about to make excuses, but to try and understand the psychology of the situation and the impact it is beginning to have. I'm interested in the idea that you "don't become a bad side overnight".

Wolves - I expected nothing, and we looked outclassed. We were poor.
Villa, the loss of Egan was significant and yet still, we were solid.
Leeds, we had a patched up side, after the loss of Egan and O'Connell. Not hard to see why we underperformed, but the loss of a Derby is a blow.
Add those together, and we're off to a disappointing start.

Then, the loss of key players needs to be factored in - O'Connell, Fleck and Mousset. We don't have the depth of quality that most of the division have, we need to all to be fit, and all to be at it. We cannot accommodate the loss of our best players as easily as the rest. A patched up side loses form, an out of form side loses confidence. No excuses again, just reality.

Then, we play Liverpool, City and Chelsea on the bounce. The top 3 elect, IMO. We realistically expect nothing from those three games, they're some of the best sides in the world. Let's not forget, by the way, we were 'at it' at points against Liverpool and solid, but not creative against City. It isn't all bad. But the lack of points, on top of the already disappointing start, and the unfortunate luck and the anxiety and lack of confidence begins to build. When much of above, has been out of our control.

The psychology and the confidence isn't the only reason, but it is an important one. Then you see it starting to manifest itself in Wilder blaming external issues (e.g. missing his first choice targets) and a change of attitude, i.e. saying we can't go toe to toe with the best sides. We realistically know that, we knew it last season too and none of us would expect us to do that for a full 90. But the attitude then was one of being willing to have a go. The difference is, we wouldn't have said that last season, it's now being said and repeated this season, and that will affect mindset. We can't take all the fault for our position, as much has been out of our control - but equally we can't get sucked into feeling all 'woe is us' and 'poor little old Sheffield United'.

The hunger needs to return, being 'at it' and using the underdog mantra in a plucky rather than defeatist manner.

UTB 🔴⚪⚔️
And the lack of 30k fans as backup for any blips in confidence.
 

Broomhall Blade

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The main thing that concerns me is in the last two games our heads seem to have started to drop when we go behind.
There was also some finger pointing and words said between the players against Chelsea something I hadn't noticed us doing before, Brewster was also mumbling to himself.
I hate international breaks but this one I'm hoping might just help us.
 

LudlamBlade

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The main thing that concerns me is in the last two games our heads seem to have started to drop when we go behind.
There was also some finger pointing and words said between the players against Chelsea something I hadn't noticed us doing before, Brewster was also mumbling to himself.
I hate international breaks but this one I'm hoping might just help us.
What worried me was that our heads dropped when we went ahead! We fought like buggery for the first 10 mins and looked really up for it, then the goal went in and we looked like we didn't know what to do next.

Can't wait to get the first three points against those wet cockney shambles! IWWT
 

bladesince64

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I agree that with a few average performances that doubts can creep into players minds and suddenly what happens is that tackles, ball control, passing, making runs, closing down that were all instinctive and easy to execute suddenly become alien to the whole team

The way Wilder motivates is also part of the equation and if he keeps saying that we cant compete against all the (so called) mega-bucks top sides then quite simply - we wont! I think we all know what he means, but it can come across as a bit like weve already lost before we kick-off.

For me though the crucial thing has been the loss of arguably the three most influential players, ie the ones who contributed the most to the success of the system, the creation of chances and also the scoring of those opportunities.

The absence of JOC, Fleck and Mousset has been talked about a lot already I know so im stating the obvious. However, Im certain that we could have dealt with the loss of one or two of these players but not all three.

Lundstram also played a big part last season with goals and assists, but for me hes just going through the motions and he barely keeps up with the play. He wouldnt even be on the bench if he doesnt want to be here.

I'm sure with some of these lads back after the international break we'll start to get results.
 

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I suppose at the start of last year there was that aggression where we were written off and expected to start last season as we've started this one.

They need to recapture that and ask themselves whether they want to be proving all the "second season syndrome" doom mongers right?. The last thing we want is a dismal season like Huddersfield and end up being worse for the experience with a second relegation battle after the first one.

Doesn't help too where you can go through the squad and compare the key members vs last year. It's not like we have good enough replacements to cover for these sorts of issues.
Ramsdale - no clean sheets in getting on 30 games, lacking confidence and has become used to letting goals in. Not a patch on Henderson IMO who could just delete mistakes and issues from his memory and move on.
Stevens - out of form and has been for a while, not tracking his runner for the first Chelsea goal led to the floodgates opening.
Fleck- Not fit
O'Connell - Long term injury and no adequate replacement.
Lundstram - had his second coming, got a bit full of himself and now wants out but we have nobody better to fill his spot so we're stuck with him until he buggers off.
McBurnie - runs his nuts off but gets no decent service other than long punts downfield.
Mousset - had a new lease of life last year and showed what he's capable of. Injured and hasn't repeated it. Capable of scoring double figures a season if he gets his arse into gear.
Egan - Not the same without O'Connell next to him. Prone to the odd error and is mistake away from being sent off each game.
Norwood - not having the same influence, games are passing him by. Has no influence whatsoever if we don't have the ball which we generally don't.
 

steve26272

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Kozzy_is_my_Dad 100% agree, at this level of elite sport the first second is played in the mind, and no question, we arent at pre lockdown levels
I would also ask, if there is any element of 'entitlement' in the heads? at the beginning of last season all the players were new to the EPL, all had something to prove on Championship wages. As the season progressed, they grew into EPL players, with significantly better wages. Has that impacted by 1 or 2% their desire? Would they be human if it hadnt? (see Aubameyang)
Add another couple of % for missing crowds - no one liked coming to BDTBL, and imagine the boost it would give you as someone who has played at the lower league grounds to walk out at Spurs, Man U, Man C etc. Cant possibly say it wouldnt give you an extra yard - its been a right leveller

The thing I loved about CW interviews last year was the lack of excuses and the way he wanted us to 'have a go' - now we are accepting we cant compete, as a player hearing that, the next time we walk out against a top side we have lost already

Dont advocate a change, but he needs to find an offy thats open with the lads on a coach
 

Kozzy_is_my_Dad

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And the lack of 30k fans as backup for any blips in confidence.

Kozzy_is_my_Dad 100% agree, at this level of elite sport the first second is played in the mind, and no question, we arent at pre lockdown levels
I would also ask, if there is any element of 'entitlement' in the heads? at the beginning of last season all the players were new to the EPL, all had something to prove on Championship wages. As the season progressed, they grew into EPL players, with significantly better wages. Has that impacted by 1 or 2% their desire? Would they be human if it hadnt? (see Aubameyang)
Add another couple of % for missing crowds - no one liked coming to BDTBL, and imagine the boost it would give you as someone who has played at the lower league grounds to walk out at Spurs, Man U, Man C etc. Cant possibly say it wouldnt give you an extra yard - its been a right leveller

The thing I loved about CW interviews last year was the lack of excuses and the way he wanted us to 'have a go' - now we are accepting we cant compete, as a player hearing that, the next time we walk out against a top side we have lost already

Dont advocate a change, but he needs to find an offy thats open with the lads on a coach

Fully agree with both these points. When we think about the psychology of being resilient to tough times - and in the footy world, times are pretty tough for United at the min - resilience when faced with challenge is about having protective factors, to keep you going. The examples in both these posts suggest that there's a huge shift in things that would've kept the side strong, and resolute - factors that just aren't available at the min, but made a huge difference last year.
 

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I think people have got a hold of Wilder saying we can't go toe-to-toe and are using it as a stick to beat him with. He may well be deliberately saying it to shield his players and make sure they don't go into a downward spiral. If he keeps telling them they should be competing then what does he tell them when they keep losing? That it was their fault? That they could have won but didn't play well enough? It was easy to be bullish last season, but with this season as it is, he is clearly lining them up to win against the bottom half teams and probably doesn't want them too deflated just because we lose to Liverpool and Man City.
 

Kozzy_is_my_Dad

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I agree with most of what is being said.

however last season all the talk from wilder was of ‘having a go’ not going out the back door.

This season it’s all been ‘we can’t compete’ ‘they have too much money’ and moaning about referring decisions. That must have some impact on performances. I don’t know where all our confidence has gone given this shite run came off the back of 10 points in 4 games against Chelsea, Tottenham, wolves and Burnley - what happened!

Nail on head. That mentality will be infectious and it's so out of character. I wonder where it's come from, and whether it's come from a summer borne of frustration and the money clubs like Villa and Fulham we're spending, to beat us to primary targets. If there's an inkling of that in the camp, in the management, they need to pinpoint it, and ask why. And then do whatever they can to park it. To then refocus on what they can control, moving forward. This isn't Sheffield United spending a season playing to defend against the opposition, we should make the opposition defend against us, there's a difference.

I suppose at the start of last year there was that aggression where we were written off and expected to start last season as we've started this one.

They need to recapture that and ask themselves whether they want to be proving all the "second season syndrome" doom mongers right?. The last thing we want is a dismal season like Huddersfield and end up being worse for the experience with a second relegation battle after the first one.

Doesn't help too where you can go through the squad and compare the key members vs last year. It's not like we have good enough replacements to cover for these sorts of issues.
Ramsdale - no clean sheets in getting on 30 games, lacking confidence and has become used to letting goals in. Not a patch on Henderson IMO who could just delete mistakes and issues from his memory and move on.
Stevens - out of form and has been for a while, not tracking his runner for the first Chelsea goal led to the floodgates opening.
Fleck- Not fit
O'Connell - Long term injury and no adequate replacement.
Lundstram - had his second coming, got a bit full of himself and now wants out but we have nobody better to fill his spot so we're stuck with him until he buggers off.
McBurnie - runs his nuts off but gets no decent service other than long punts downfield.
Mousset - had a new lease of life last year and showed what he's capable of. Injured and hasn't repeated it. Capable of scoring double figures a season if he gets his arse into gear.
Egan - Not the same without O'Connell next to him. Prone to the odd error and is mistake away from being sent off each game.
Norwood - not having the same influence, games are passing him by. Has no influence whatsoever if we don't have the ball which we generally don't.
That's an added point, crucially. Cheers, the importance of expectation.

Placed on us by others, placed on us by ourselves.

Where nothing is expected, it's easier to impress and we saw how long pundits were impressed by us, but then took an age at the start of the season to warm to the idea that we could actually keep that form going.

Now, expectations raise. And suddenly, there's a fear of falling short, of being worse than last season's efforts, of not measuring up. Something we didn't have to contest with last season, when noone expected owt of us.

Tell you what, someone needs to stick a paper to the wall again, and get Egan to sing a song about it...
 

Bladesthorpe

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I suppose at the start of last year there was that aggression where we were written off and expected to start last season as we've started this one.

They need to recapture that and ask themselves whether they want to be proving all the "second season syndrome" doom mongers right?. The last thing we want is a dismal season like Huddersfield and end up being worse for the experience with a second relegation battle after the first one.

Doesn't help too where you can go through the squad and compare the key members vs last year. It's not like we have good enough replacements to cover for these sorts of issues.
Ramsdale - no clean sheets in getting on 30 games, lacking confidence and has become used to letting goals in. Not a patch on Henderson IMO who could just delete mistakes and issues from his memory and move on.
Stevens - out of form and has been for a while, not tracking his runner for the first Chelsea goal led to the floodgates opening.
Fleck- Not fit
O'Connell - Long term injury and no adequate replacement.
Lundstram - had his second coming, got a bit full of himself and now wants out but we have nobody better to fill his spot so we're stuck with him until he buggers off.
McBurnie - runs his nuts off but gets no decent service other than long punts downfield.
Mousset - had a new lease of life last year and showed what he's capable of. Injured and hasn't repeated it. Capable of scoring double figures a season if he gets his arse into gear.
Egan - Not the same without O'Connell next to him. Prone to the odd error and is mistake away from being sent off each game.
Norwood - not having the same influence, games are passing him by. Has no influence whatsoever if we don't have the ball which we generally don't.
McBurnie gets no decent service ? You obviously didn't see the Fulham game where he missed a hat trick of easy chances in the first half.
 

mattbianco1

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Last season even Liverpool’s captain Van Dijk admitted the hostility from the Bramall Lane crowd made it tough for his Liverpool team to perform.

The importance of this shouldn't be underestimated. No way United and Burnley drop like we have with fans in the ground.

When the players are dead on their feet, the crowd can inject that extra energy to carry them through. Adrenaline is a very powerful stimulant.

Fans also lift the mood after just conceding a goal. Take the Hull game at Wembley for example - when their 5th goal went in, we all stood up, applauded our own players and carried on singing. The players knew the fans were behind them. Who was there to pick them back up after going 2-1 down on Saturday?
 

bornablade

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1990/91 - 4 points by December. Confidence was probably low. Bassett called in Tony Robbins an American people coach to sort out the Positive Mental Attitude.

In our next game we need to go out with that 'old Sheffield United' attitude. Nobody's going to beat us. I'm not sure if some of the newer players have bought into what we are about. We don't take any shit from anyone. Wilder knows what it's about. Forget the 'sexy' overlapping centre backs and get back to basics.

Building up the points will build up the confidence.
 

1987

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The players knew the fans were behind them.

I think this is a key point, and when we see nervy second half like that against Fulham I think it's important.

They can't see we have their back anymore every Saturday, they can't feel that. it was our journey, we were in it together, we rose together. We won and lost, together.

But like the rest of us they get their general feeling from the forums and the social media now (i don't buy for a second they don't read, morbid curiosity would reign in most cases). It's easy to get a picture they don't think we've got their back anymore, we aren't losing together anymore.

Psychologically it's got to be hard, both in terms of how the connection to fans has changed and our general (perceived) attitudes towards them, in a really short amount of time.
 

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What they need is to get 10-20 fans with positive attitudes a covid test and get them down to Bramall Lane and the players have some small 1-2-1 time with some fans to discuss their feelings and let them know we are 100% blade behind them to try and give them a boost and to remind them behind every camera there are 000's of Blades fans sat at home willing the team on. Or even get them upto the training ground outside and let them watch a training session and have a good old chinwag afterwards.

Just makes me thing some kind of Zoom video wall needs to be installed at the Lane.
 

Danny_Blade

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The importance of this shouldn't be underestimated. No way United and Burnley drop like we have with fans in the ground.

When the players are dead on their feet, the crowd can inject that extra energy to carry them through. Adrenaline is a very powerful stimulant.

Fans also lift the mood after just conceding a goal. Take the Hull game at Wembley for example - when their 5th goal went in, we all stood up, applauded our own players and carried on singing. The players knew the fans were behind them. Who was there to pick them back up after going 2-1 down on Saturday?

I agree but I think the Hull game was under different circumstances. I think most clubs' supporters would've done the same anyway. You're at Wembley in an FA Cup Semi Final and even though the score has become 5-3 of course you're going to applaud you're L1 team that has given it everything against a PL team on such an occasion.

On a separate note we're now in the PL while Hull are down in L1, funny how football turns around isn't it!
 

1987

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What they need is to get 10-20 fans with positive attitudes a covid test and get them down to Bramall Lane and the players have some small 1-2-1 time with some fans to discuss their feelings and let them know we are 100% blade behind them to try and give them a boost and to remind them behind every camera there are 000's of Blades fans sat at home willing the team on. Or even get them upto the training ground outside and let them watch a training session and have a good old chinwag afterwards.

Just makes me thing some kind of Zoom video wall needs to be installed at the Lane.

A really good idea, surprised the club hasn't encouraged this kind of thing, especially Zoom. Could have a players forum on there, etc.
 

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