Brighton boss Graham Potter believes the dire form of beleaguered Sheffield United is down to the “brutal” nature of the Premier League.
Chris Wilder’s floundering Blades sit rock bottom of the division having picked up just a solitary point this term ahead of Sunday’s trip to the Amex Stadium.
The South Yorkshire club’s perilous position is in stark contrast to last season when they took the top flight by storm to finish ninth following promotion from the Championship.
Potter is full of admiration for the “fantastic football story” Wilder has created at Bramall Lane and feels United are currently suffering the misfortune of regularly being on the wrong end of fine margins.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for Chris Wilder and Sheffield United and what they’ve achieved,” said Potter.
“From what I’ve seen, they could have had more points. This league is so brutal at times that you can do a lot of things well and get punished.
“If the margins don’t go your way, you can find yourself on the wrong end of results. If you look at their defeats, they are not getting beaten by three or four every week. It’s narrow defeats.
“They lost with the last kick of the game against Leicester. I don’t know how they lost against West Brom with the chances they created.
“A lot of the things I see with Sheffield United are positive.
“I know Chris, I know his teams, they are always competitive, they never give up.
“There’s a fantastic football story there and, regardless of where they are in the league or how many points they’ve got, I’ve got tremendous respect for him and Sheffield United as a club.”
Wilder has guided his boyhood team from League One to the Premier League since being appointed in 2016 and said he will only walk away from the job if he feels it is the “right thing for the club”.
United have lost 15 of their past 16 league games, with their last win coming against Chelsea in early July.
While the Blades continue to struggle, Brighton – who have accumulated 10 more points than their weekend opponents – have endured wretched home form in 2020.
Albion have won only one top-flight fixture in Sussex this calendar year and taken a meagre 10 points from a possible 45 during that period.
Potter is eager to swiftly improve the dismal record but insists it will be far from straightforward against a side scrapping for survival.
“Obviously we would be delighted for a home win and the sooner it comes, the better,” he said.
“We’ve played a lot of the top teams without our supporters, a few too many draws, and wins are hard to come by. But we’re keen to address that, we’re keen to change it.
“Sometimes you have got to through a period of suffering and you can come through it and you can be stronger. I think that’s what we’re all aiming for.
“We’ll do our best against Sheffield United and that’s an opportunity because it’s the next match. It’s not an easy match, it’s not a gimee, we have to fight for everything.
“They’re going to ultra competitive and – as in every game in the Premier League – you’ve got to do your best and hope for a little bit of luck. When we get that win, we’ll be delighted.”