Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, believes his team has been written-off ahead of this evening’s game against Aston Villa.
United enter their meeting with the former European champions ranked sixth in the table but without a win in five games.
Despite insisting United have no intention of succumbing to Steve Bruce’s side, Wilder acknowledged the fixture is a financial mis-match given Villa’s huge spending power.
“It’s a powerful, historic, fantastic football club,” he said. “Everybody will write us off, and I understand that, it’s football.
“There are certain standout fixtures in the calendar, and this is one for us. It’s up to us to put in a performance and get a result which upsets the odds.
“Our players should be rubbing their hands together and saying ‘come on, let’s get ourselves back on track, we have not done ourselves justice in the last three or four games in terms of results’. That’s the attitude we’ll have.”
Although Villa have been forced to rein in their spending of late, receiving a Premier League parachute payments has enabled Bruce to sign the likes of John Terry, Glenn Whelan and Robert Snodgrass in recent months.
Wilder, who has submitted a bid for Southend’s Ryan Leonard, added: “I wouldn’t say performances have been terrible, we have not been smashed or been on the ropes in any game we have been beaten.
“I don’t think we are a million miles off getting our season back up and running again. Maybe we are not a level playing field, in many senses on Saturday, but my team deserves to be in the position we are in.”