Tottenham Hotspur-Sheffield United Preview
Jose Mourinho insisted Tottenham will not approach their match against Sheffield United as if they are facing the worst team in the Premier League.
Spurs missed the chance to go third when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Fulham on Wednesday, but have a good opportunity to return to winning ways when they visit Bramall Lane.
The Blades - who won the corresponding fixture 3-1 last season - sit bottom with just five points, but Chris Wilder's team finally picked up their first league win of the campaign by beating Newcastle United 1-0 last time out.
And Mourinho knows his team must perform at their best to get a result against a side battling for their Premier League status.
"They (Sheffield United) are not the worst team in the Premier League at all. They're a much, much, much better team than what the table says," Mourinho said.
"You analyse their matches and many times the opponent was not better than them. I don't look to the table. Of course, I look but I go deeper than that.
"Many times, they lose 1-0, they draw 1-1, they are a very good team. If in our mind we are going to play the worst team in the Premier League, we are going to be in big trouble."
Wilder, meanwhile, spoke of his respect for Mourinho.
"I have an incredible amount of respect for Jose. He's my favourite current manager in the Premier League, amongst a load of really fabulous managers, but I really like him," said Wilder.
"The Premier League is full of top managers but for me he is the best in the business. He makes players winners as well as being the ultimate winner himself.
"He is a box office manager who, I believe, is top of the tree. He is the big one, the main man and, for me, always will be."
Sheffield United - Billy Sharp
Sharp has scored in each of his last two Premier League appearances as a substitute for the Blades - aged 34 years and 342 days, he is the oldest player to do so in the top-flight since Frank Lampard in September 2014 (36y 99d).
Tottenham - Dele Alli
Spurs missed a glut of golden chances against Fulham, but even when the visitors equalised, Alli was not called on from the bench. He had previously impressed against non-league Marine in the FA Cup, but does not appear to have Mourinho's faith. However, he could just prove to be a difference maker in Sheffield if Tottenham are in need of a goal.
•The Blades have lost just two of their last 11 top-flight matches against Spurs (W5 D4), avoiding defeat in both matches last season (W1 D1).
•Spurs are winless in their last seven away league matches against the Blades (D3 L4) since a 2-1 win in December 1975.
•No side has scored more first-half goals than Tottenham in the Premier League this season (19), including a league-high eight goals in the opening 15 minutes of games. Spurs have also shipped fewer goals before half-time than any other Premier League side this term (four).
•Between them, Spurs duo Harry Kane (24) and Son Heung-min (19) have had 43 of Spurs' 81 shots on target in the Premier League this season (53 per cent) - no other player at the club has had more than five so far. Kane and Son's combined 43 shots on target is just nine fewer than Sheffield United have managed as a whole so far this term.
•The two other teams to go as many as 17 games winless from the start of a top-flight season - Burnley in 1889/90 and Bolton in 1902/03 - both registered back-to-back wins after winning their first games of their seasons, as Sheffield United could achieve here.
Updated January 15, 2021