Sheffield United are set to clinch the second automatic promotion spot ahead of Leeds United because they have “some horrible players” who can scrap for results.
That is the verdict of Noel Whelan, the former Leeds striker who has been impressed how the Blades have continued to grind out results while their Yorkshire rivals have slipped at the final hurdles in the top-two race.
Consecutive defeats for Marcelo Bielsa’s side over the Easter weekend means the Bramall Lane outfit are three points clear with a far superior goal difference ahead of Saturday’s home clash against bottom club Ipswich Town.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, lifelong Leeds fan Whelan explained how Sheffield United have been able to maintain their momentum right up until the end of the Championship campaign.
“I think it is down to the players,” he said. “We are a very nice side and fantastic to watch when we are at our top level. When we need to scrap and battle it out, we are not as good as Sheffield United.
“That comes down to a fighting mentality, character and doing what’s needed to win games. We have fallen short in that area. I look at Sheffield United and they have got some horrible players.
“Leeds have a plan A and, if the plan A isn’t working the first half, we try and do it better in the second half. There is no diversion from the method, no plan B. Marcelo Bielsa sticks to his method and doesn’t change it.
“Sheffield United are able to win in different ways. They can also play it around, but they can mix it up, as well.”
Leeds are third in the league heading into Sunday’s clash against high-flying Aston Villa and need two points from their final two matches to secure third place and avoid Dean Smith’s side in the play-offs.
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