Sheffield United: Blades show their fighting spirit as Chris Wilder keeps it simple

United celebrate the winner against Charlton
United celebrate the winner against Charlton
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Modern football is increasingly drowning in tactical innovation and buzzwords but for Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, sometimes it’s all about going back to basics.

“If you want to achieve, sometimes you’ve just got to go the extra mile to run over the top of your opponent,” he insists.

“I hear a lot on coaching and about playing between the lines and half-pressing and mid-breaks and whatnot, but I think it’s pretty simple sometimes; have desire to go out there and score, and then desire to keep the ball out of the back of the net.

“I think that’s a large part of why we are where we are and I’m delighted with the group that I’ve got.”

Where United are is top of League One and, seemingly, with one foot in the Championship after they went ten points clear of third-placed Fleetwood by beating Charlton on Saturday.

But once again, they were forced to show their character after falling behind to Ricky Holmes’ impressive free-kick.

The 2-1 victory was the fourth time in their last six games that they have either gone behind and hit back, or recovered after the body blow of losing a lead.

And the statistics show that it’s a trend replicated over the season. Remarkably, over 65 per cent of United’s goals this term have come in the second half (compared to 45 and 55 per cent for promotion rivals Bolton and Fleetwood) and they’ve scored 14 equalising goals so far, compared to Bolton’s eight and Fleetwood’s seven.

“Yet again I wasn’t surprised by my team’s reaction to disappointment against Charlton,” Wilder added.

“We show battling qualities day in, day out and week in, week out, no matter where we play. If we’re good then we usually get results because we have good players and their attitudes are right.

“But if we don’t bring our A-game to the table, we enough about us, individually and as a team, to get something out of the game.”