Sheffield United: Chris Wilder issues a challenge to his players as the battle for automatic promotion hots-up

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has warned his players they must continue to improve or risk being overhauled in the race for automatic promotion from the Championship.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 4:55 pm

With eight matches of the season remaining, United entered the international break ranked second in the table, a point above third placed Leeds, after beating their Yorkshire rivals at Elland Road last weekend.

Despite reminding the result"decides nothing", Wilder and his team were last night accused of thinking "they're already up" by opposition centre-forward Patrick Bamford.

But, proving he is not about to fall for the 25-year-old's mind games, Wilder said: "We are just trying to win the next game. We have got a break now and we will assess.

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"Going second is a big boost. It shows that we are in the fight. Now we have to kick on, lift our standards a bit more and play better."

Despite acknowledging the result was "significant", in both a sporting and psychological sense, Wilder was less complimentary about the technical aspects of United's performance against Marcelo Bielsa's men, admitting the hosts enjoyed several chances to take the lead themselves before Chris Basham's second-half winner.

United, who return to action when Bristol City visit Bramall Lane later this month, have travelled to Spain for warm weather training ahead of the meeting with Lee Johnson's side.

Backing his squad to approach its remaining games in the right manner, Wilder said: "We have big challenges ahead of us and big hurdles.

"The boys keep surprising us in terms of what they have got and what they are trying to achieve."