SOME members of Sheffield United’s squad suffer delusions when speaking to the Press. Kieron Freeman, United’s goalscorer in the 2-1 defeat to Swindon on Thursday night, has just joined the club.
He said of the play-off semi-final first leg at Bramall Lane: “They [Swindon] were celebrating as if they were through. They were probably buzzing because they knew they didn’t deserve to win. But that’s even better for us. The gaffer [Nigel Clough] said to us at the end ‘they think they’re through’. We’ll see. There’s Monday to go now.”
Now listen to Sam Ricketts who scored Swindon’s equaliser. “We’re very grounded as a group and we know that it is halfway and we need to remain humble as we have achieved nothing yet.
“It’s fantastic to be in the lead but we said at half-time of the game ‘we’re 1-0 down, there’s an awful long way to go, stay in the game, it’s a quarter of the way through the tie’.
“Now we’re halfway and there’s still an awful lot of hard work to make sure we get the job done.”
Does that sound to you like Swindon think they have already booked their coach to Wembley? Nathan Byrne, who scored the visitors’ winner was equally pragmatic. “It’s great to have got the win,” he said, “but they are a good team and the job is only half done.”
Swindon manager Mark Cooper commented: “The players in the dressing room are quite calm, there is no hooting, screaming and back-slapping. They know it’s half time. We were losing at half time in this game so anything can happen.” He added: “One goal changes everything and away goals don’t count. We know we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
So there you have it. Freeman, allegedly aided by ‘the gaffer’, clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about. Neither does ‘the gaffer’ if what he is claimed to have said is true.
Freeman didn’t stop there. “They’ve got the one way they like to play but we pressurised them into so many mistakes,” he said.
For the record, and for Freeman’s benefit, United made many unforced errors the worst of which resulted in conceding two goals. They also gave away a penalty which, thankfully, was saved. Swindon, the away team, enjoyed 54 per cent of possession and had five shots on target to United’s four. Swindon won the match.
They celebrated with their fans at the away end, as you would expect, but after the landmark victory remained humble and level headed when questioned by the media.
Freeman, meanwhile, sounds like a naughty schoolboy caught making up stories because he can't get his own way. He should have his sweets confiscated.