The fear of being branded the worst Premier League team in history could spur Sheffield United on to an incredible escape from relegation, Chris Basham says.
With two points from 16 games, the club is in last position and would set a record for the longest winless start to a Premier League season if they fail to defeat Crystal Palace on Saturday at Selhurst Park. United will also break the record for the lowest points total in the top flight if results do not improve; they are on track to end the season with less than the 11 Derby points tallied up in 2007-08.
“I don’t think any of our players deserve that,” Basham said. One hundred percent of men don’t want the name.
After seven or eight years at Sheffield United, I do not want to be afraid of being remembered for the wrong reasons.
When the club was mid-table in League One, Basham joined United in 2014, drawing his expectations from the rise under Chris Wilder, which included two promotions and a spot in last season’s top half of the table. The defender said, “If there’s one team that can do it, it’s us,”
He added that the squad was hurt by the comments that the players were best qualified for the championship: “It’s hurtful if people say stuff like that, but there’s no other way to say it right now. It’s the truth because it seems like that.”
But we have to prove them wrong, push and push and hopefully do that. That’s got to feed our appetite. That’s what the manager tells us. We always struggled to play at the top, and to get there we always had to go the long way.
For Basham, it’s difficult to understand why the results were so bad. Of the 14 league losses, 11 came with a single goal. He said, “I walk away from games thinking, ‘What went wrong?” It’s the bounce of a ball or a fine line or a striker’s brilliant end.
That’s difficult to handle.
“I look back at the games and analyze them, and there are things we did better this year than last season, but we got results last year and we didn’t this year … The way we dominated and dictated some games. We created a lot of chances and didn’t score, whereas last year we created a few chances and the ball ended up in the net.
“We have meetings with the manager every few days – he believes we can do it.”