Sheffield United: Clough sets Blades’ next task

Hull City v Sheffield United  FA Cup Semi-Final 2014 Nigel Clough and the Blades bench at the end of the game

Hull City v Sheffield United FA Cup Semi-Final 2014 Nigel Clough and the Blades bench at the end of the game

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Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, insisted his players must use their FA Cup adventure as a “springboard” into the Championship next term.

United hopes of becoming the first ever League One team to lift the trophy ended yesterday when they beaten 5-3 in a pulsating semi-final by Yorkshire rivals Hull City.

But Clough, who admitted he was “proud” of his squad’s performance at Wembley, said: “We can use what we’ve done during the second-half of the season to push us on. Because we want more days like this. More big occasions.

“We want this to be the start of something. To be a springboard and something that we can build on.

“That is the challenge for us now.”

United, who exploits have earned them around £1.2m in prize money alone, were languishing in the relegation zone when Clough was appointed six months ago, return to action against Stevenage on Friday 11th in the table with five games remaining.

Goals from Jose Baxter and Stefan Scougall, either side of Yannick Sagbo’s effort, had fired them in front at the break.

Howeve, Matty Fryatt, Tom Huddlestone and former United midfielder Stephen Quinn pounced during the second-half.

Jamie Murphy reduced the deficit during the closing stages before City’s David Meyler pounced with almost the last kick of the match.

“There’s no way we are going to let our season peter out,” Clough said. “We want to finish it strongly and use that to set the tone for the next.

“We want come back here (to Wembley) for matches like this one.

“Hopefully it has given us a taste.

“We are proud of what the boys have done and we are proud of the support we had here. We hope they are proud of us.

“But it’s important we build on this and keep on moving forward.

“Keep on trying to improve so that we get to where we want to be.”