Blades reaching Champions League second only to Foxes triumph

Sheffield United
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

Sheffield United's potential qualification for the Champions League would surely go down as one of the biggest achievements in football history.

When Chris Wilder brought the Blades back to the top flight by finishing second in the Championship last season, most pundits and fans felt finishing 17th to avoid an immediate return to the second tier would be an achievement in itself.

Few would have thought that the men in red and white would be sitting in seventh spot in the Premier League standings with 11 games to go.

Having reached the magical 40-point mark, it is a safe bet that there will be top-flight football at Bramall Lane next term but could there be a European experience for the fans to go with it?

The Blades are just four points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea but, if Manchester City do not manage to overturn their two-year European ban, then fifth place will be good enough to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition.

That will be tough for United to achieve given the fact they are up against the likes of Tottenham, Manchester United, Wolves, Arsenal and even Burnley for fifth but the way things have gone, it cannot be ruled out.

The South Yorkshire outfit play in Wilder’s image with honesty and graft and only once in the league this campaign have they conceded more than two goals.

That is a record which will always give you a chance of taking something from a game, with the Blades claiming 10 wins and as many draws from their 27 matches this term.

They have lost three of their past 12 games – twice to Manchester City and once to Liverpool – and their league position has been built on an ability to dispatch the clubs in the lower half of the table while picking up the odd point against those a touch higher.

Leicester City’s Premier League triumph in 2015-2016 is quite rightly considered the greatest achievement in the modern game in England, but it could be argued that Sheffield United making the Champions League would not be too far behind.

There are still some big obstacles to overcome, with games against the Red Devils, Spurs, Chelsea and Leicester but there is no reason why the club’s fans should not dream.

It may well be that a spot in the Europa League is the true limit of their ambition but it has to be remembered that the Foxes were among the favourites for relegation at the start of the season when they won the title.