This column wasn’t at Bramall Lane on Tuesday. It’s first impressions of the new Sheffield United were formed three days earlier.
In a word, frantic. In too much of a hurry. Almost too anxious to please.
I doubt there was much sense to be made of crashing 3-0 at home to Southend even if you were there. While the early results have been deeply disappointing, what I saw against a resourceful Rochdale is a team that flies into tackles and looks to pin back the opposition.
Certainly, that was the way things started in my only viewing of Chris Wilder’s Blades to date.
That it fizzled out into a minimum of clear openings and chances was a puzzle. But the half-time substitutions of Matt Done and new midfielder John Fleck in the calamitous defeat that followed did not raise eyebrows on what I saw in the 1-1 draw last Saturday.
Things you couldn’t question were desire, drive and energy. Supporters can point, out of frustration, to a “lack of effort” when sometimes the reverse is true. There can be too much – of the wrong sort.
That’s what this observer thought, anyway.
It wasn’t quite a headless chickens routine but at times it was close. To use another analogy, the ball was a hot potato in almost every player’s haste to move it upfield.
As Wilder admitted, it didn’t go wide often enough to feed a valuable addition in Mark Duffy and, latterly, the on-loan young Middlesbrough winger Harry Chapman.
Wilder told me: “I want us to get the ball forward quickly but we hit balls that were too hopeful on occasions. We still need that bit of composure and quality.”
They also need not just “more competition,” as he stressed, but more first choices on the evidence of four games and no wins with an unchanged side.
Eyes down, look in for key recruitment before real recriminations set in.