Chris Wilder thinks his Sheffield United team have renewed belief following victory against Manchester United as they look to pull off the greatest of escapes and survive in the Premier League.
However, the Blades boss has warned the win at Old Trafford must not be a one-off as they prepare to travel to top-of-the-table Manchester City.
Wilder’s side have been written off by most after making the worst start to a season in the history of English top-flight football, and Wednesday’s shock win was only their second in the Premier League.
The Blades are back in Manchester on Saturday as they look to cause another upset and further erode the 10-point chasm between themselves and safety.
“I’m sure it’ll give us a huge boost in belief and confidence,” said Wilder.
“We’ve taken major hits this season, more in the manner of the results rather than the performances – the late goals, individual errors and not taking big moments.
“But we took them on Wednesday and it can only help the players, because it can’t be a one-off if we want to make it uncomfortable for the teams above.
“But don’t get me wrong, we are not all of a sudden thinking we turn up at Manchester City and it is our game to lose.
“There are small things we can take positives from and encouragement from, we will do that.
“But we know how difficult it is going to be, they seem to have hit top speed recently. It’s the nature of the league and we’d love to be in this position next year, going to Old Trafford and the Etihad, but there is a lot of work to do if we are to make that possible.”
The Blades were a revelation last season on their return to the top flight, finishing ninth and mounting a serious challenge for European football.
It raised expectations, perhaps only outside of Bramall Lane, and the extent to which they have struggled this season has been a surprise to many.
However, Wilder always remained realistic and has reiterated that Premier League survival was the only objective and measurement of success.
“The club’s priority, without being negative, is to stay in the division,” said the 53-year-old.
“Some managers will feel they can’t say that for fear of getting battered (by supporters) but I’ll have the balls to say it.
“Us staying in this division was a huge success and it would be again, it would eclipse what we did last season given the position we find ourselves in.
“We’ve made an incredible amount of games this season close, but I don’t want a pat on the back for that. But it is incredible given the teams we are up against in this league. The club was in League One just five years ago, and had been stuck in League One a while.”
John Egan is available again after serving a one-match ban at Old Trafford but Wilder will once more check on the fitness of Oli McBurnie, Enda Stevens and Ben Osborn.
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