Sheffield United manager Chris Morgan predicted the pressure of a play-off campaign will bring the best out of his team following last night’s defeat by Crewe Alexandra.
United remained sixth in the League One table after succumbing to Chuks Aneke’s memorable strike early in the second-half.
Despite paying tribute to Crewe goalkeeper Steve Phillips, who made a string of fine saves to deny the likes of Harry Maguire and Callum McFadzean, Morgan admitted the visitors must rediscover their ruthless streak ahead of next month’s two legged semi-final.
But he told The Star: “In situations like that, in pressurised games like the play-offs, it’s all about how big your privates are.
“You need people who are going to grow in them, thrive on the situation, and I think we’ve got the right blend here to do that.
“We’ve got experience in the squad and youth too. Young lads who are enthusiastic and fearless.
“There were times out there (against Crewe) when I sensed all the lads wanted to do was get involved in the play-offs.”
United face Preston North End in the final match of their regular season at Bramall Lane this weekend and Morgan said: “It’s important we go out on a high. We need to do that to repay back our fans who I know are going to be right behind us.”
Aneke, on loan from Arsenal, scored the only goal of the contest in the 49th minute. Barry Robson, one of five changes to United’s starting eleven, impressed with his set-piece delivery while Darryl Westlake and Callum McFadzean also enjoyed rare starts.
Morgan said he used the game to “try out a few different things and learn bits and pieces” for the play-offs.