Sheffield United: '˜Blades can sustain promotion push despite Villa defeat' insists Chris Wilder

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, insisted his team demonstrated they can sustain a promotion challenge during last night's game against Aston Villa, despite succumbing to Robert Snodgrass' late strike.

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 10:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 10:25 pm
John Fleck of Sheffield Utd dejected as the Villa players celebrate in the background: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Colin Calderwood, Steve Bruce’s assistant in the Midlands, admitted United should feel “aggrieved” not to have taken something from a match which saw Sam Johnstone make a series of fine saves before the Scotland international pounced during the closing stages.

Although Wilder also felt the final scoreline did not reflect United’s contribution to a match between two promotion chasing sides, he refused to criticise United’s players for failing to convert the chances they created after Jack O’Connell had earlier struck the woodwork.

“We’re obviously disappointed not to get the result,” Wilder said. “But I don’t think the lads have got anything else to be upset about. The reaction of the Villa players at the end - which wasn’t big-time or disrespectful by the way - told you that they knew they’d just got past a very good side. And the fact we can say that against opponents like them, with all the talent and names they’ve got, tells you just how far we’ve come in a very short space of time.”

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United, who remain seventh in the Championship table, saw George Baldock, John Fleck and Ryan Leonard go close after O’Connell’s header had rebounded off the crossbar. But Villa, who improved as the fixture wore on, climbed to third when Snodgrass was on target in the 90th minute.

“Sheffield United will feel pretty aggrieved not to have taken anything,” Calderwood said.

“The way they play, they are a threat to anyone, they really put you to the sword. Because of that, we never got really got to a level we were happy with. We had to dig-in and then were able to work the ball better than we had before.”