Plenty of glamorous foreign names have performed the ‘Jose Mourinho Dash’ in recent seasons so, when his reaction to Sheffield United’s equaliser at Fleetwood Town cropped-up during yesterday’s media conference, Chris Wilder wanted to know why he was being likened to Barry Fry.
Chris Wilder wanted to know why he was being likened to Barry Fry.
“You could have picked Jose, you could have picked Antonio Conte but no, you have to compare me with him,” Wilder joked. “Bazza’s a great bloke but you could have picked someone more exotic, surely?”
Although he might not care to admit it, the analogy with Fry, who once slapped the hand of nearly every supporter inside London Road following a Peterborough win over Burnley, made perfect sense. Wilder’s Sheffield United team is built on blue collar values like honesty and hard work. Not, despite the presence of some talented footballers, fancy skills or tactics.
“If the supporters had not been happy with that performance, 500 of them would have been on the tram back to Blackpool having a beer after 60 minutes,” Wilder, whose team snatched a last gasp draw at Highbury, continued.
“But they can see the players are putting the effort in, and being positive. Sometimes it’s not your afternoon, but the players refused to let that happen and even in the 95th minute thought they could get something from the game. That last thing I want is for us to be a team who comes back in the changing room and says “I wish we had done this or that. Sometimes it’s not going to be your day, but it won’t be for that want of trying. We want to leave it all out there.
“You never know how important that point could be, in terms of momentum and in the grand scheme of things.”
United, unbeaten in their last seven League One outings, will hope to extend that run to eight when Port Vale visit Bramall Lane tomorrow. Without a fixture in the competition since returning from the North-West, Wilder (pictured) and his coaching staff have used the international break to improve Caolan Lavery’s fitness and ensure Stefan Scougall is available to play.
Wilder, who confirmed Leon Clarke is making progress in his own battle to overcome injury, said: “In an absolute ideal world, we would have both Leon and Lavery playing - Lavery would have had a pre-season - and firing on all cylinders.
“That isn’t the case, we have been a bit unfortunate with the injuries we have had. They have been impact injuries, not overload injuries. Other clubs will have periods like what we are going through at some point.”
United slipped to eighth after last weekend’s meeting with Walsall was postponed but will climb above Bruno Ribeiro’s fourth placed side if they secure a sixth win of the campaign. Matt Done and Billy Sharp are again expected to lead the attack with Lavery poised to start on the bench.
“As a manager you want as many options, selection posers, as you can and we certainly haven’t had that,” Wilder said. “But it’s testament to the character of the lads that they’ve got through it and got results.”