Sheffield United: What made Chris Wilder laugh after defeat to Swansea City?

By his own admission, Chris Wilder is a terribly sore loser. Someone, no matter what the circumstances, who finds it difficult to come to terms with defeat.

Sunday, 20th January 2019, 1:05 am
Updated Sunday, 20th January 2019, 1:09 am
Chris Wilder was pleased with his players' desire: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

But Sheffield United's loss at Swansea City, which saw them remain third in the Championship table ahead of Saturday's visit to second-placed Norwich, was one of those rare occasions when his mood failed to betray the fact they had finished the match without even claiming a point.

The reason for Wilder's demeanor, which even saw him burst into laughter when a journalist suggested the outcome represented a missed opportunity to close the gap on leaders Leeds, was United's perseverance.

"If you're going to lose, then there's a way to lose," he said. "What I saw out there was a team that kept on going right until the end, that wasn't prepared to give up or just think 'This isn't our night.'

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"The boys came off the pitch shattered. They gave everything and left it all out there. That's what you want to see.

"So if you're going to get beaten, which admittedly we don't like, then at least you can say you've done that."

Wilder's generosity also extended to Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick, who both missed chances before Oliver McBurnie scored the only goal of the contest. But he was less complimentary about referee John Brooks, who Wilder felt should have awarded United a late penalty when Mike van der Hoorn appeared to handle the ball in the box.

"With what Billy and David are doing, you can't really be critical of them" he said. "Yes, we should have been in front and then, when we're making changes, we're not trying to chase the game, we're trying to stay in front and win it. We knew it was going to be tight."

"I felt at the time we should have got a pen," Wilder added. "That was my gut reaction and then, speaking to the TV lads afterwards, they thought the same.

'They said it was a definite penalty. I've seen the replay and it was. But Swansea are a good side, with a good manager, and I always maintain, with the players they've got, there's going to be a time when they click."