Warnock expects title rivals to whet Blades' appetite

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The Independent Football

"Sometimes we play within ourselves and we need that competition from the opposition to get us going," he said, "but we have a group of players here who just want to win every game. They are so hard-working. I had to stop training last Friday because they were kicking chunks out of each other in training."

Warnock praised his more experienced players, notably substitute Keith Gillespie who has been given a one-year contract extension. He explained: "The older lads like Gillespie, Neil Shipperley and David Unsworth have driven us on, and I think everybody has something to prove."

United went ahead in the 10th minute as Paul Ifill's cross from the right was headed powerfully past the Plymouth goalkeeper Romain Larrieu by Neil Shipperley for his fourth goal of the season.

The home side extended their lead from a set piece after half an hour, after Alan Quinn had been tripped by full-back Anthony Barness as he advanced on goal down the left.

The referee Graham Laws opted to book the defender rather than send him off, but justice was done as Quinn drilled the resulting free-kick low to the left of Larrieu from 20 yards.

Plymouth almost hit back instantly when Nick Chadwick got goalside of his marker and shot on target from six yards, but Paddy Kenny, making his 300th professional appearance, got down quickly to block.

Argyle started the second half strongly and Micky Evans went closest for them in the 54th minute when Nick Montgomery blocked his header from a Tony Capaldi corner on the goal-line.

Quinn almost scored with a second direct free-kick with six minutes to go, but Larrieu managed to tip his dipping shot on to the crossbar and over.

Tony Pulis, the Plymouth manager, gave a fairly positive assessment of his side in their two games since he took charge last week, having held Southampton to a goalless draw at the weekend.

Pulis said: "We created enough chances tonight be pleased with the performance, but I'm disappointed with the goals we conceded.

"We were caught in possession a few times in dangerous areas and there is a lot of work to be done," he added, "but I saw some encouraging signs."

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