Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, says his team “deserve” to be nine points clear at the top of the League One table because they are “proper players”.
United stretched their lead over second-place after beating Charlton Athletic at Bramall Lane, despite falling behind to Ricky Holmes’ early strike.
Wilder, who watched Jack O’Connell and Daniel Lafferty extend his side’s unbeaten run to nine games, acknowledged the visitors had caused United problems but said: “They’ve got some really good, good players. I think we’ve got proper players though. Technical players sometimes don’t win games week in week out.
“Danny had a desire to get into the box. Kieron (Freeman) had that desire and Jack too. Their desire, the position they are in, they deserve the points they’ve got and they deserve the plaudits that get chucked their way.”
“When you’ve got the tin hat on, you need that,” Wilder continued. “People can talk about pressing and playing in between the lines, all of that tactical, coaching stuff I hear. My players at the end just wanted to keep the ball out of our net and get three points. Sometimes, you’ve just got the dig a bit deep and get over the line. Sometimes, when you are 1-0 down at home playing against quality players, you just have to find a way to get back in and dominate.”
Karl Robinson, the Charlton manager, admitted United demonstrated the “self belief” and “solidarity” of champions as they became the first top three club to beat the Londoners this season.
Despite their previous record of success against the division’s leading teams, Robinson’s men trail United’s by 31 points and Wilder said: “Doing it week in, week out; that’s the difference. I know Holmsey really well. He gives it his all, week in, week out. He turns up every game. I don’t want to go into budgets, but they, I think, have got a bigger one that us.
“They’ve spent money on players and wages and have got a fantastic youth system that produces players year in and year out. I think Karl will be looking for that consistency, that we’ve shown, from proper players.”
“We show it every single week,” Wilder added. “Every single day, every game. Whether it’s Charlton at home in front of 25,000 or Rochdale in front of five thousand.”
“Every single game, we turn up. If we play good then great. If we don’t, then we’ve got enough about us to get something out of the game.”