FOOTBALL: Kendall's subtle approach

Nicholas Harling sees a new manager have an immediate effect on his team
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The Independent Online
The footballing philosophies of Dave Bassett and Howard Kendall are a world apart, but in going from one extreme to the other since their change of manager, Sheffield United demonstrated a remarkably swift transformation.

The team that lived by the boot under Harry, even if he was far more sophisticated than he was often given credit for, has suddenly discovered its capacity for creativity in intricate passing patterns. Not five minutes had elapsed in the 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town on Saturday when, to cries of "Ole!" from their small contingent of supporters, the visiting back five stroked the ball around with an assurance that in Bassett's eight- year reign had either never been apparent or encouraged. Sometimes United did go too far with their too subtle approach.

Kendall has, after only two days of training, clearly made his influence felt. "I've changed things around slightly," he said.

A point was the least Kendall deserved, if only for daring to alter the tactics so drastically, so quickly. "We weren't as much as an attacking force as I would have liked," he admitted, "but I'll find out more in training what the players can do."

There was, indeed, little cutting edge to the Blades. Since Ipswich, Marshall and substitute Gus Uhlenbeek apart, also displayed a distinct lack of thrust, maybe it was hardly surprising that the small crowd should express their displeasure.

Ipswich went ahead, courtesy of the otherwise impressive Tuttle. Unaware that Kelly probably had Marshall's cross covered, the defender's intervention succeeded only in putting the ball into the gaping goal.

Displaying all the "spirit, attitude and commitment" demanded by Kendall, United took only five minutes to equalise, Carl Veart's pass invited David White to race to the byline from where he pulled back a low cross that was steered in by the substitute Paul Starbuck. If Kendall can persuade Leeds to extend White's loan spell or even to sell the forward - who once played for him at Manchester City - it will make his first week as manager.

Goals: Tuttle (og, 60) 1-0; Starbuck (65) 1-1.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Forrest; Taricco (Uhlenbeek, h-t), Mowbray, Thomsen, Thompson; Stockwell, Williams, Sedgley, Milton; Marshall, Mathie. Substitutes not used: Gregory, Appleby.

Sheffield United (5-4-1): Kelly; Rogers, Fitzgerald, Tuttle, Nilsen, Ward; White, Gannon, Holland, Veart (Hodges, 85); Blake (Starbuck, 46). Substitute not used Tracey (gk).

Referee: J Rushton (Stoke-on-Trent).

Booking: Sheffield United: Rogers.

Man of the match: Marshall. Attendance: 9,630.

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