Chris Wilder is refusing to talk down United's aspirations of competing at the top end of the Sky Bet Championship, ahead of Friday's clash with West Brom.
Speaking ahead of welcoming Darren Moore's Baggies to Bramall Lane, the Blades boss was typically bullish about his side's chances of maintaining what has been a very positive opening 21 games.
He remarked: "We're third in the division, behind two clubs that have done great and will want to maintain their positions, but we're in amongst it.
"We're talking about it and we should be. I've said to the players they shouldn't be frightened, do we want to be contenders or pretenders?
"People will say we shouldn't be here, perhaps we shouldn't. But we are, we're playing well, so let's continue to give it a right go."
Wilder continued: "We've had some bumps in the road and we've perhaps not picked up the points some of our performances have deserved.
"So we've just got to make sure we really try and match up good consistent performances with positives results, if we do, we'll stay there or thereabouts."