It might have won top marks for entertainment but, from a purely footballing perspective, Sheffield United’s titanic tussle with Bradford City left Chris Wilder demanding more from his players.
Wilder told reporters his head was “spinning” after watching United extend their unbeaten run in League One competition to 10 games following last weekend’s 3-3 draw at Valley Parade.
Despite praising the visitors’ strength of character during the post-match press conference, Chris Basham revealed Wilder had been more finicky when he addressed the team in private.
“The gaffer wasn’t happy afterwards about us all being so gung-ho (towards the end),” Basham said. “He wanted us to make sure we saw it through. He would have taken a point with five minutes to go.
“I felt the game was a cracker. We were ahead twice but we needed the three goals to get something out of it. That was the only disappointing thing, that we let them get back into it and then ahead.
“That meant it was a bit backs against the wall, especially as we were away from home. But we scored again and, after that, both teams were going for it.”
United will attempt to demonstrate the same conviction, albeit combined with better game management, when they host MK Dons on Saturday afternoon. The Buckinghamshire club parted company with Karl Robinson on Sunday evening following a disappointing sequence of results with Richie Barker placed in temporary charge.
Basham, who made an immediate return from suspension when Jack O’Connell was taken ill before last week’s victory over Shrewsbury Town, again impressed as an auxiliary centre-half against Stuart McCall’s side.
Speaking after scoring United’s equaliser after Timothee Dieng had put City 3-2 up midway through the second period, Basham said: “It was great to get that third goal, as this time last year we might not have drawn a game like Bradford. We put our bodies on the line. I got an early yellow and didn’t want another Scunthorpe (red card) again. But the referee was good, he pulled you to one side and talked to the players all the way through.”