Sheffield United hero John Lundstram says the club’s home form will be “vital” to their hopes of Premier League survival. The Blades are back in the big time for the first time in 12 years and after battling to a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on the opening weekend picked up a first win of the season at their Bramall Lane home on Sunday.
Crystal Palace were the visitors and struggled to contend with the enthusiasm of the hosts, who set about their task with similar ferocity to that which helped them win promotion from the Championship. Lundstram was the hero on the afternoon, netting the only goal in a 1-0 win after 47 minutes, following up Luke Freeman’s blocked effort to send the home fans into rapture.
United’s rise under Chris Wilder has been a remarkable one, with the club having been playing League One football this time three years ago. Wilder has backed his side to grow into the season and has put his faith in much of the squad that got promoted last term. Lundstram is one of the players who has been given the chance to prove himself in the Premier League and has impressed so far.
After taking four points from their opening two games, the South Yorkshire side are so far making a mockery of those who tipped them for relegation. Winning consistently at home will be crucial to their survival hopes and Lundstram is hopeful they have set the tone with Sunday’s victory.
“This, hopefully, is the starting point of a big season at home for us,” he is quoted as saying by the Sheffield Star. “Our home form is going to be huge for us this year. “Yes, there are going to be times when it’s tough but what we do here, at our place, is going to be vital moving forward.”
The 25-year-old barely featured last term with John Fleck and Oliver Norwood favoured as a holding midfield duo, with Mark Duffy given a free role. However, the boss has chosen to be a bit more reserved with his approach this time around. Lundstram has benefitted from the move, playing alongside Norwood and Fleck in the middle of the park.
The former Everton youngster revealed earlier in pre-season that Wilder had asked him to get forward more and with Duffy eventually joining Stoke on loan after a summer of rumours, looks set to benefit from the change of tactic.
Next up for the Blades is another outing at Bramall Lane as they host Leicester City on Saturday.
They are then in EFL Cup action against Blackburn on August 27 before travelling to Chelsea in their final game before the international break.