Sheffield United: Clough comes to the rescue

Michael Doyle and Nigel Clough have huge respect for each other � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Michael Doyle and Nigel Clough have huge respect for each other � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Michael Doyle last night credited manager Nigel Clough with rescuing Sheffield United’s season, writes James Shield.

And the former Republic of Ireland international, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers, revealed his no-frills approach has been responsible for transforming a team seemingly destined for relegation into one now chasing glory on two fronts.

United enter the meeting with Kenny Jackett’s side chasing an 11th victory in 12 outings and having kept eight consecutive clean sheets.

Doyle, outlining the changes Clough has implemented behind the scenes since taking charge five months ago, said: “Everything has changed so much after the gaffer came in. The first thing is he’s got a great team spirit and brought all of the lads together.

“We’ve got a smile on our faces and we enjoy coming into work. It sounds easy but, unfortunately, football isn’t always like that.

“I’ve been at some good clubs and got promoted with Leeds but, I can honestly say, this is the best I’ve experienced.”

United, who face Hull City in the FA Cup semi-finals on April 13, were bottom of the table after being beaten at Molineux less than four weeks before Clough’s appointment. They enter their game against the League One leaders, which marks the start of the club’s 125th anniversary celebrations, placed 10th and intent on mounting a late challenge for the play-offs.

“He is the boss and he calls the shots,” Doyle said. “But he’s got a great staff who, like him, are great with the lads and can share a laugh and a joke.

“But, when it comes to it, you don’t want to let him down. That’s why you’ve got lads playing through injuries for him and, if something is wrong, then you get told in no uncertain terms.

“If you’re not mentally strong then I don’t think you’d survive long here now. We’re willing to do whatever it takes.

“We’re digging deep and, no disrespect to anyone, but I think we’ve turned a corner.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1