Sheffield United: The word Chris Wilder used to describe criticism of his team's crossing

Brendan Rodgers is unlikely to use it during one of his post-match monologues.Â

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 27th December 2018, 5:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 1:47 am
George Baldock heads into the game against Blackburn Rovers in impressive form: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
George Baldock heads into the game against Blackburn Rovers in impressive form: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

It does not carry quite the same gravitas, is nowhere near as fashionable, as words like 'transition' or 'philosophy'.

But Chris Wilder's decision to label criticism of Sheffield United's crossing habits as "absolute b******t" seemed perfectly appropriate given the qualities which have propelled them into the upper reaches of the Championship.

Enda Stevens has created plenty of goals this season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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Despite entering Saturday's meeting with Blackburn Rovers ranked fourth, United's approach play around the opposition's box has provoked much debate in recent weeks with some pundits claiming they do not deliver the ball early enough to really trouble defences.

Although he avoids social media like the plague, Wilder was clearly aware of those comments when he addressed journalists following Boxing Day's win over Derby County; a result he attributed to United's application and invention.

"All this stuff that's being said about our crossing," Wilder said, "All that business, it's absolute b******t, really it is. I could use another word. I could put it another way. But I'm too polite for that."

Whatever your standpoint on the matter, whether you think United over-elaborate or not, there is no such deliberation about the most important characteristics of Wilder's team. Despite demanding his players "win tackles, headers and races", attributing their position to hard-graft alone would do little justice to the invention they displayed against County. Or, for that matter, the science coaching staff employ behind the scenes.

Jack O'Connell claimed an assist against Derby County: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

"I think we play some really entertaining stuff," Wilder continued. "And, no matter what gets said, we cross it as much, if not more, than anyone." Wilder will use the fact Enda Stevens is United's leading assist provider so far this season, combined with fellow wing-back George Baldock's rampaging performance two days ago, to support is argument.

But, as preparations for the visit of Rovers gather pace, he acknowledged: "We're always looking for areas where we can improve and get better. What won't change, though, is the general attitude. The way we like to try and go about things."