Nigel Adkins revealed Sheffield United had attempted to drive a wedge between Louis van Gaal’s team and its own supporters during Saturday’s evening’s FA Cup tie at Old Trafford.
The League One club were denied a place in Monday’s fourth-round draw when Wayne Rooney scored the only goal deep into added time of a match which saw Manchester United jeered by large sections of the home crowd.
With many of the former European champions’ followers expressing dissatisfaction with van Gaal’s tactics, Adkins said: “We wanted to play on that.
“We knew if we didn’t let them pass a ball, if we to nullified their chances, then that frustration can build. With us at Bramall Lane, a lot of teams sit and defend very deep and, whether you like it or not, it’s not easy to break down teams if they are organised.”
Adkins, who refused to blame Dean Hammond for conceding the penalty which ended the Blades’ run in the competition, denied their game-plan had been based solely upon stifling the attacking threat of a starting eleven worth £215.8 million and boasting a combined total of 406 international caps.
“Goals change games and we tried to press early on,” he continued. “We knew it would be a big ask and the respect that Manchester United showed us with the team they put out meant we knew it would be difficult.
“We tried to be adventurous in the first 25 minutes with two up front to see if we could take the game to them.”
“It’s a shame that in the 92nd or 93rd minute that an honest endeavour to put a block in on (Memphis) Depay has given the referee an opportunity to award a penalty.
“The referee gives it, whether you think it is or not. There’s no need for the player to go to ground with a couple of players around him. But that was just honest endeavour. The effort of the players was phenomenal.”