Learn the lessons of history but don’t wallow in it
That was the main thrust of Chris Morgan’s media briefing at Shirecliffe yesterday.
The Sheffield United manager, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s League One play-off semi-final with Yeovil, was peppered with questions about his club’s six previous failures in the end of the season knockouts. All of which provoked the same, succinct response.
United’s focus is on shaping the future, Morgan insisted. Not raking over the past.
“Everything is new,” he said. “This is a new experience and a new opportunity. A whole new one in fact.
“There are different ideas and different ways of looking at things.
“It’s easy for people to start going on about what’s happened before. Saying that ‘you haven’t done this and you haven’t done that.’
“Well, we are here to do it now.”
Morgan, a member of United’s coaching staff when they were beaten by Huddersfield in last term’s Wembley showpiece, took charge following Danny Wilson’s departure three weeks ago.
The 35-year-old is adamant his squad possess the character required to not only impress during the first instalment of their double-header with Gary Johnson’s side but also Monday’s return at Huish Park.
“You often see teams drift away after losing a final,” Morgan said. “These lads didn’t.
“We lost some quality players and had cut-backs but they’ve competed towards the top of the division right the way through.
“We’ve adapted and brought in people with ability, hunger and experience. We have picked ourselves up and got going again.
“That, with everything that’s been thrown at them, is a credit to everyone here.”
United, who finished fifth in the final table, hope to have striker Jonathan Forte (hamstring) and defender Tony McMahon (Achilles) available for selection tomorrow. Fourth-placed Yeovil are sweating on the fitness of Byron Webster and fellow centre-half Dan Burn.
Morgan, speaking of his respect for the visitors’ capabilities, said: “The four clubs who are in the play-offs are they because they deserve to be. We’ll give our lads everything they need in terms of information about the opposition and with regards to motivation.
“They’re an honest bunch and a hard-working bunch. Top players regarding their application and technique and we’ll need all of that across two tough games.”
Boss reveals duo making progress
Chris Morgan, the Sheffield United manager, hopes Jonathan Forte and Tony McMahon will return to training today.
Morgan, whose side entertain Yeovil Town in the first leg of their League One play-off semi-final tomorrow, said: “Jonathan has been resting a hamstring but we’ll have a look and see whether he’s okay to train.
“Tony, as everyone knows, has had a long-standing Achilles problem but we’ve rested him too in an effort to make sure he’s okay for the game.”