Sheffield United fans appreciated last night’s win just as much as the players.
The 1-0 success at Craven Cottage sparked a sense of celebration, as Blades fans dressed as Santa Claus sang and danced up to three well-earned points in West London.
Iliman Ndiaye’s goal made the difference, extending the unbeaten streak to five matches with a fourth consecutive victory.
Here are some of the Sheffield United moments that you might have missed.
The feast of Ndiaye
It was interesting to see how Iliman Ndiaye celebrated his start to strike.
The 21-year-old ran straight to manager Paul Heckingbottom and Jack Lester, ignoring Billy Sharp’s attempts to grab the young forward.
The Frenchman made it clear where he wanted to go – straight to the two people who have played the biggest roles in his career.
He first celebrated by hugging Heckingbottom, before going to do the same with Lester.
It was great to see the respect he has for his manager and coach and you could see the pride on Heckingbottom and Lester’s faces.
Afterwards, Ndiaye said: âA big credit to him (Heckingbottom) and to Jack Lester.
“They’ve been helping me since they joined Sheffield United. For less than 23 years Jack has worked a lot with me, finishing exercises, telling me where to go, where to move, how to use my body and that kind of stuff. things. He’s helped me a lot. “
Sharp’s race to the goal
While Ndiaye makes the headlines and deserves the finish, the role Billy Sharp played in the goal should not be overlooked.
The captain has set the example from the front and has never stopped running for his team, either on the canals to provide an outlet, or using his experience to try and win free kicks at the top of the pitch. and gain a lot from his teammates. -need to breathe.
He also played a big part in the goal, producing a smart run from the center to the wide left of the goal, dragging the center half with him and opening up space for Ndiaye to attack at the edge of the zone.
Sharp’s pace of work and performance with Ndiaye then drew praise from Heckingbottom.
Heckingbottom explained in the preparation for this match how they will have to deal with the threat from Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The Serbian striker has scored 22 of Fulham’s 51 goals this season and Marco Silva’s men are the top scorers in all four divisions.
Indeed, they have only managed to score in a game twice this season and have limited themselves to one shot on target.
Heckingbottom had mentioned the need to focus on the attacker’s serve and try to cut the supply line and other than his late luck which hit the crossbar he didn’t have the most night. easy.
The defense started from the front with relentless pressing from Sharp and Ndiaye, as the United midfielder quickly moved closer to his man and cut all the balls mid-through his feet in and around the area. .
Basham’s three defenders, Egan and Robinson were close to each other, allowing Egan to play man-for-man with the striker as soon as the ball entered him and Basham and Robinson close enough to react if he escaped to the skipper of the Republic of Ireland.
It really was a job well done.
Fans enjoy their football
The little pocket of Blades fans in the corner of Craven Cottage have been enjoying one of the best days out for a while.
It was a great and wonderful atmosphere to listen to these 1,438 fans enjoying their football again.
Not only did they never stop singing, but it was great to see supporters dressed as Santa Claus doing the Conga in the aisles.
They were full vocal and Chris Basham led the scenes full time with a pumping fist as the players and Heckingbottom walked towards the fans.
The atmosphere outside was in stark contrast to that at home, which had paper flappers on each seat when they arrived to help generate their noise.
It didn’t work, as Ndiaye silenced them from the start and they became anxious which spread to the pitch.
United fans are recognizing their team again, but just as importantly after a period of heavy criticism, the players are recognizing their supporters again and this continues for a long time to come.
Thunderclap for Robinson
The defender received particular praise from his manager for a “fantastic performance”.
Replacing unavailable Ben Davies, Robinson was in league action for the first time since September and he produced an excellent display to help keep a much needed clean sheet.
There was a moment 10 minutes after the start of the second half where he “took one for the team,” after interrupting a seemingly dangerous counterattack when Harry Wilson slipped his close attention. from the sideline.
He was booked after stopping Wilson in his tracks and after there were a few high-fives from the pending Blades players who acknowledged what he had done.
United’s tactics frustrated the hosts and it was the classic away performance – a goal on the real quality counterattack, fierce defense and then doing everything to break the flow of the game, leading Fulham boss Marco Silva to strike at âwaste of timeâ.
After seeing how many points have been lost this season at the end of the season, the management of the game last night was perfect.
New song by Iliman Ndiaye
The winner of the United match was treated to a new song last night as Blades fans serenaded the youngster.
When it comes to producing quality players from their academy, United fans know a talented youngster when they see one and Ndiaye is already a popular player with fans.
As he left the pitch with 12 minutes for United’s third and final change, fans sang a new song to the tune of Coming Round The Mountain’s “sing aye, aye yippee ippy aye” with the words “singing I, I Iliman Ndiaye ‘.