Sheffield United: Chris Wilder takes positives from a rare Blades defeat at Bramall Lane

The defeat will have irked him, the manner in which it came only slightly soothing the pain.

Thursday, 23rd November 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:55 am
Leon Clarke of Sheffield Utd applauds the fans dejected despite scoring another hat trick Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

But as Chris Wilder dissected Sheffield United’s remarkable 5-4 loss to Fulham on Tuesday night, the sight of three or four visiting players left exhausted on the Bramall Lane turf at the final whistle will have reaffirmed his belief that his side are still on the right track.

So, too, will the response from the home fans. Not many teams in English football will concede five goals at home, lose the game and leave the field to a standing ovation, as United did on Tuesday.

Logic dictates that other teams will come to S2 this season and leave with three points. The difference under Wilder, as opposed to the United of previous years, being that they’ll have well and truly earned it.

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“Without stating the obvious, you aren’t going to give yourself too much of a chance to win a game by conceding five goals at home,” Wilder said.

“But any team that gets a result here will have had to go through the mill to get it. Fulham deserved their result, even though I don’t think they’ve carved us open.”

Leon Clarke scored his second hat-trick in as many games at Bramall Lane, but three goals from Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon and a Sheyi Ojo brace proved enough despite United substitute Samir Carruthers’ late deflected strike.

“I’m disappointed with the Fulham goals, but pleased with the manner in which we went about the game and the pride in the shirt that we showed.

“You have to go through a lot to get a result here. Maybe here we didn’t show as much quality as usual and the energy levels were down a little from our point of view.

“But the plus point was we played right to the end and asked some questions. “They’ve not worked hard for their goals, Fulham, but they had to work hard at the other side of their game.”

Fulham’s hat-trick hero Sessegnon has been the subject of £25m interest from Premier League clubs, while Clarke cost United around £150,000 from Bury.

“They are a big club, they’ve been in the Premier League very recently and spent a few quid in the summer too,” Wilder added.

“I don’t want us to go out of the back door, there is no hiding place, but we didn’t shrink.

“We weren’t anywhere near our best, we didn’t get to play at our tempo and we kept giving the ball away cheaply and if you do that against good sides you are always like to come off on the wrong end of the result.

“But I always thought we were in the game, at 4-2 we were on top and the best footballing team in the division are booting it anywhere and clinging on for dear life.”