Alan Knill hails skipper Billy Sharp after Blades victory



Posted Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by PA

Alan Knill hails skipper Billy Sharp after Blades victory

Sheffield United assistant manager Alan Knill praised two-goal striker Billy Sharp as the South Yorkshire side moved back into the Sky Bet Championship play-off places with a 3-1 victory at Reading.

United deservedly went in at half-time 2-0 ahead through efforts from Sharp and Mark Duffy.

Reading cut the deficit early in the second period through Omar Richards and had the chance to draw level from a 62nd-minute penalty.

But replacement goalkeeper Simon Moore saved Leandro Bacuna’s spot-kick and United scored shortly afterwards, captain Sharp netting his second goal of the game and 13th of the season.

“Our first and third goals, they were proper Billy goals,” Knill said. “And in between that, he probably could have had some more.

“But his all-round performance was excellent. To score twice was fantastic and he led the team as well. That’s what we ask him to do as skipper.

“He led the team by his performance and he was also brilliant in the changing room.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the result tonight. After the game last Friday (a 1-0 defeat at Hull), the response from the players was everything that we expected from them.

“The icy conditions weren’t that tricky. The ball skidded a bit more than it usually does but it’s how you adapt to it and I thought we did pretty well tonight.”

Reading have not won a home league game in seven attempts.

“It was a very disappointing evening,” Reading manager Jaap Stam said. “In the first half, we were not aggressive enough and didn’t win enough battles.

“We tried to turn things around in the second half and we started a lot better than in the first. We got the first goal and needed to score that penalty.

“If it had got back to 2-2, then it’s a totally different game.

“We were not decisive enough or strong enough defensively. At times, I find our defending shocking. But it’s not just our defenders, we have to do it as a team.”

Stam was also unhappy with Sharp’s second goal, which resulted from a quick United throw-in after Reading’s Chris Gunter had allowed the ball to go out of play with team-mate Liam Moore apparently injured.

“The ball was out for an injured player,” Stam said. “But United decided to play on and you can ask if that is fair enough?

“But we should not have been surprised at them not giving the ball to us. You need to do everything to defend it.”

Knill said: “There was no one down on the floor. It went out for a throw and we just played on. At the time, we looked on the pitch and there was no one injured.”

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