Sheffield United: Chris Wilder wants his team to prioritise points, not being pretty, as he prepares to pit his wits against Leeds' Marcelo Bielsa

Chris Wilder says Sheffield United must be prepared to win by any means necessary when they face Leeds this weekend after warning he will always prioritise points over style.

Thursday, 29th November 2018, 4:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th November 2018, 4:25 pm
Chris Wilder has won plaudits for his team's approach: David Klein/Sportimage

United have won an army of admirers for the quality of their football this season, with Marcelo Bielsa also heaping praise on the 51-year-old's philosophy before bringing his team to Bramall Lane.

Although Wilder will appreciate the Argentine's comments after describing him as a managerial "great" earlier today, he said: "I've told the players I don't want to be a footballing side. I want to be a complete side.

Chris Wilder believes Sheffield United's players should take all the credit for their start to the season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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"If you don't compete, you'll get nothing. It's as simple as that. We want to be effective in terms of how we get the ball from 'A' to 'B' and then, when we don't have it, from 'B' and back to 'A' again."

United climbed to fourth in the table, three points behind leaders Norwich City, when they beat Brentford in midweek although West Bromwich Albion have since climbed above them on goal difference. Leeds are second, meaning the fixture has more than just regional significance.

"This is a game we're really looking forward too," Wilder said. "I should imagine they (Leeds) are too and that's credit to how well our lads are doing, how they've driven our club forward and the position they've got it into. I said after Brentford that we were an angry team. We're usually an angry team and I don't mind that. That's what gives us our desire and drive to win a game of football."

Bielsa was effusive in his praise of United's approach during Leeds' own pre-match media briefing, before declaring they are set to recall Pontus Jansson following injury. The defender has missed the last two matches with a foot problem.

Marcelo Bielsa is an admirer of Chris Wilder's methods: Simon Hulme

United beat their Yorkshire rivals twice last season but, citing Bielsa's presence in the technical area, Wilder expects Leeds to prove an altogether different proposition this term.

"We played really well last year, in front of nearly 40,000 live on the TV," he said. "But it's a new manager, new ideas and a new direction added to what was already a really talented group to start with. He won't be ramping it up."

Captain Billy Sharp has scored three times in his previous two appearances against Leeds, where he spent 11 months before rejoining United in 2015. Although the 32-year-old remains close pals with his fellow skipper Liam Cooper, their friendship has been temporarily put on hold.

"He is probably the only one there now from when I was there," Sharp said. "He loves playing for Leeds, I know that and signed a new contract not long ago and is captain of the club. 

Billy Sharp is friends with Liam Cooper: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

"He has told me that the manager has been really good in terms of their regime, structure and play and how they go about it. They will be looking forward to the game just as much as we are. It has all the ingredients for a great game.

"I spoke to him on Saturday but I have not spoken to him since we both won the games in midweek," Sharp added. "I am sure we will have a text and one maybe afterwards."

Wilder is expected to have a full strength squad at his disposal after George Baldock recovered from the illness which forced him to miss Tuesday's trip to London.

"I just think every game looks, on paper, really tight to call," Wilder said. "The division is so tight and you've just got to keep accumulating points along the way. You've got to keep playing well and adding to your total."