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Speed upbeat after Blades triumph
Published : 26 Apr 2009 08:37:13Rss feed
David Cotterill's first-half penalty gave the Blades a 1-0 win over Swansea which moved them a point behind second-placed Birmingham. Victory over Preston on Saturday night would be enough to see Birmingham promoted but Speed believes his side can still reach the Premier League even if it is through the play-offs. "We can't get too down because we've had a great season. In terms of form since Christmas, I think we would have been top of the league by a good way," said Speed. "We've done ever so well to get ourselves in there. Before Christmas it wasn't looking too great but we picked ourselves up and we've gone for it. "If we're in the play-offs then we're more than happy with that and we'll be focused on going on to win that." Speed conducted the post-match interviews in place of manager Kevin Blackwell who was sent to the stands by referee Rob Styles in the first half for protesting against a booking given to defender Matthew Kilgallon. Kilgallon was cautioned by Styles for kicking the ball away, but moments later Swansea's Leon Britton escaped a yellow card for a similar action. "The gaffer isn't too sure what he's been sent to the stands for because he says he hasn't raised his voice," added Speed. "What he was unhappy about was the fact that Kilgallon has been booked for kicking the ball away and their player has done the same thing and got away with it. "He didn't raise his voice, it wasn't a heated exchange but the referee has still sent him to the stands." Swansea boss Roberto Martinez hailed the performance of his players this season despite seeing their play-off dream slip away. Defeat at Bramall Lane, coupled with Burnley's draw at Southampton, meant the Swans missed out on a top-six place after a sensational debut term in the Championship. "Our season has been an amazing success. We haven't been able to spend any money and we've had to develop our own squad," said Martinez. "I'm very proud, we're in seventh place right now which is an amazing achievement. I'm delighted at how the players have adapted, even today when we weren't at our best. "We won League One by playing football and we're seventh by playing football. I don't think that anyone would have said with two games left we'd be competing for the play-offs and that's just credit to the players. "It has been a remarkable success and now we need to move on as a squad and a football club and keep pushing for the top six." Despite being pleased with his players' performance this season, Martinez was frustrated by Styles' decision to award Sheffield United a penalty for Garry Monk's foul on Stephen Quinn. "When the referee gave the decision I thought he was going to book Quinn," added Martinez. "I had a clear view and Quinn has done really well to be fair, he has been very clever. He slows down, waits for Garry Monk to get back into position and throws himself down and I don't think that would've been a penalty in the other box. "But we didn't lose because of the penalty decision. My disappointment is that the performance wasn't as good as it has to be at this stage of the season."