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Clough's optimism

23 January 2014

Nigel Clough sees no reason why the Blades can't cause another shock in the FA Cup at the weekend, but insists United will start as firm underdogs against Fulham.

The Blades host Rene Meulensteen's Cottagers on the back of a tremendous third round success at Aston Villa, but Clough believes that will count for little this time around.

Looking ahead, the Blades boss said: "We certainly can win the game. There's no reason why we can't, but it will be a little more difficult this time.

"Because we're at home the expectations are a little bit higher, there was no pressure on us at all going to Villa Park.

"Some people are suggesting an upset is on the cards, but it would be that, we've got to remember Fulham are two divisions above us and the quality they have throughout their squad.

"The fact they've got a game 48 hours later at Swansea might affect their team selection, I don't know, but they'll still have enough quality on display to hurt us if they are at their best.

"The expectation on us is down to our performance at Villa Park, people realised afterwards it was no fluke."

Clough is hoping his players can build on recent displays at Bramall Lane, which haven't yielded what they should have, in the Gaffer's opinion.

He added: "Our last two home performances have given us a little bit of a pattern of how we want to play at home, now we need the results to match up.

"We were terrific against Tranmere Rovers and thoroughly deserved our three goals. Against Bradford we took control of the game and scored two well worked goals, our attacking play was exceptional and I think we had 29 shots in the game.

"Luck didn't favour us on the day, but teams won't get deflected equalisers from 25 yards every week, so there is every reason to be optimistic."

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