Che Adams thanked boss Nigel Adkins for his support after helping Sheffield United climb back into the League One play-off positions.
Adams, starting for the first time since August, scored twice as they beat fellow promotion hopefuls Rochdale 3-2 at Bramall Lane.
And the teenager, who less than a year ago was playing for Ilkeston, believes Adkins’ commitment to expansive football is bringing the best out of United’s attacking players.
“The gaffer gets behind everyone, he gives us confidence both on and off the pitch,” Adams said. “To get the go-ahead from the gaffer was brilliant and he gives the wingmen and all the attackers more confidence.
“We do all this stuff on the training ground and to bring it in to the matches really helps alot. But we can’t get too ahead of ourselves by not defending and stuff like that. We’ve all got to keep knuckled down and working really hard.”
Adams, aged 19, has made rapid progress after leaving the New Manor Ground and was recently awarded his first England under-20 cap. Having burst on to the scene with a brace against Tottenham Hotspur in last season’s Capital One Cup semi-finals, he admitted: “Probably this double is better because we got the three points and the league is more important. I nearly got a third and I’d have loved to but it was more important we got a win and all three points. The fans are brilliant. We get over 19,000 to watch us and for a League One team you can’t beat it.
“It’s always hard coming up against first-team players who have been in the game for so many years. But with the manager we have now, we can enjoy ourselves. Everyone knows what their jobs are. I have not been here long, 11 months that’s all, but it’s been a really good 11 months.”
United, who have been paired with Fleetwood Town in the JP Trophy third round draw, surrendered the lead after both of Adams’ goals before Neill Collins scored the winner from Jose Baxter’s corner. The former Everton midfielder had earlier produced the pass which led to Adams’ opener and he said: “That ball is what we always work on in training. Billy Sharp’s assist for me was an amazing ball too, you can’t much better than that. In the second half he has tried to slide me in again but the defender has intercepted it. With Billy’s cross, I was always going to take a touch, to have hit it first time would have been a gamble.”