Sheffield United: Belief remains strong despite run of form insists Chris Wilder
Not winning games is something Sheffield United have hardly been accustomed to over the last few months.
A slow start to the season was blitzed away by a superb 15 game unbeaten run which catapulted the Blades into the heart of an apparent four way battle for automatic promotion.
But United are currently on a three game winless run, a period which has seen them slip back out of the top two and go out of the FA Cup.
Boss Chris Wilder is not ready to start panicking just yet – and insists his players are not either.
“I’ve not really noticed a difference in them, other than after the games,” he told The Star. “They’ve been bright and they have to be.
“They have to come into training sessions on the front foot.
“It’s no good moping about.
“If this is a crisis or disaster, I will take it all day long.
“Anyone who have watched us play, watched the games and see how we’ve played would not look at it from a crisis point of view.
“We haven’t got the results. Sometimes there’s stuff you can control but sometimes there’s stuff you can’t.
“We can’t control two disallowed goals and four penalty appeals that were all backed up by the referee’s assessor.
“But we can control our game management, the little bit of quality in both boxes.
“We will get better. We’ll look at all that stuff and these are the things we have to improve to become a better team.
“It’s about the progression of the team.”
Fears of a slide have been held at bay, largely because United have arguably – and in some circumstances certainly – been the better team in each of the three games they have failed to win.
Wilder believes that has helped his players maintain the belief in what they are doing.
He said: “I think the players recognise that.
“They’re right in the middle of it. They understand they’re not getting battered by the opposition.
“It’s just a little bit of frustration that we’re going through this period at the moment.
“We’ve got too much quality, too much desire, too much fight and too much ability to let this drag on.
“We’re a positive staff. I’m a positive manager that will look at the negatives, look at ourselves and what we can do better.
“But I’ll also focus on a lot of the good things that are happening here.
“That’s the way we’re playing and it’s about trying to move that forward and make us better.”
The Blades have been presented with what is seemingly an ideal opportunity to return to winning ways this weekend – and put together a strong run of form over the coming weeks.
Visiting Bramall Lane on Saturday is an inconsistent Swindon Town outfit, one which has won just once on the road this term but beat high-flying Bradford City at home last time out.
The Blades will be without on loan Middlesbrough midfielder Harry Chapman who has been ruled out for three to four months with ankle ligament damage following a freak training ground injury which has left his future at the club in doubt with his temporary deal set to expire next month.
The visit of the Robins begins a run of three home games from the next four matches for United and Wilder is keen for them to be in a strong position heading into the second half of the season.
He said: “We’re looking to go into this Christmas period and accumulate decent points.
“We have to go and get ourselves back on a winning run.
“To do that we must show all the qualities we did in that 15 game run.
“I’m confident we can do that.
“I’ve always said with this promotion race, you put yourselves in a position at Christmas and the race really starts in January.
“It’s our job to pick up points, try to get close to the 50 point mark going into the New Year.
“And then the race is really on.”