When he began addressing the media at Sheffield United’s training ground yesterday, Chris Wilder’s mood spoke volumes.
Questions about last weekend’s defeat by Millwall elicited a terse response. Answers were accompanied by ice cold stares. The message he wanted to convey was simple: ‘All that’s in the past. Let’s talk about Bristol City.’
“I’ve said what need to be said,” Wilder replied when asked about his post-match diatribe at The Den. “Now move on, no grudges. There’s nothing to be gained from going over it again. What’s important now is trying to win the next game and showing we are better.”
United will get a chance to do exactly that when City visit Bramall Lane tomorrow night. Wilder, who accused his players of conceding “c**p goals” and “not doing enough” during their 3-1 reverse in London, reverted to his usual affable self when discussing a fixture which pits fourth-placed United against the team directly above them in the Championship table.
“We have to do what we think is right as a staff and we’ve worked with the players,” he said. “It wasn’t a disastrous performance (versus Millwall) where loads and loads of things went wrong. That’s us raising the bar and them being a notoriously tough team at home against the big boys.”
Nevertheless, despite being keen to draw a line under a rare below-par display, Wilder acknowledged lessons must be learned from the meeting with Neil Harris’ side to ensure a disappointing run, which has seen United go three matches without a win, does not continue.
“If somebody makes a mistake, somebody has to get them out of it,” he said. “The first goal summed it up. We had an opportunity of filling the box and, from there, 15 seconds later the ball was in our box and they showed a greater drive and desire to put it in our goal than we did in their goal. We didn’t do enough to get back and they did more to run past us.”