'Be like Manchester City': Sheffield United receive their FA Cup instructions ahead of Millwall tie

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has urged his players to follow Manchester City’s example as they prepare to visit one of the most challenging grounds in the country.

Saturday, 25th January 2020, 11:00 am
Chris Wilder, manager of Sheffield United, congratulates Manchester City's Kyle Walker following Tuesday's Premier League fixture at Bramall Lane : Simon Bellis/Sportimage

This afternoon’s game against Millwall at The Den is expected to prove a test of United’s mental and physical toughness, with Gary Rowett’s side set to enjoy the backing of a fiercely partisan home crowd in the capital.

Speaking ahead of the FA Cup fourth round tie, Wilder admitted the fixture represents a “totally different” challenge to the one United faced when Manchester City travelled to South Yorkshire in the Premier League four days ago.

But, acknowledging Gary Rowett’s side will attempt to make life as uncomfortable as possible for his squad, Wilder insisted Pep Guardiola’s star-studded team had highlighted the importance of being “adaptable” before Sergio Aguero scored the only goal of the game midway through the second-half.

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“One hundred per cent, there’s still a place for different challenges,” Wilder said. “Everyone goes through them. It’s how you adapt and that’s the beauty of the game.

“Millwall is a working class club, like ourselves, and it’s a tough place to go. You’ve got to be strong mentally and physically but still play your football.

“That’s why City won on Tuesday; because they were prepared to adapt, understand the challenge and take it on on every front.”

“(Aymeric) Laporte, when Mo Besic nailed him, there was nothing off the bench from their manager,” Wilder continued. “He understood it, they understood it and they took it on.

Millwall fans at The Den, where Sheffield United travel in the FA Cup fourth round this afternoon: Steven Paston/PA Wire.

“We went a bit more direct than usual and they understood that too. If crosses come in to us (at Millwall) then we won’t have a moan-up either.

“You have to overcome these obstacles if you want to go through and, if we do, then we know it’s going to have been a tough one.”

Wilder has expressed his frustration with the theatrics employed by some opposition players since United gained promotion from the Championship last term.

But he reminded supporters in England still appreciate the competitive nature of the game, saying: “Liverpool fans expect it, there was a big roar from the City fans when one of their lads put in a big header or tackle.

“Okay, we all like to play and some fans might get carried away with that a bit. But this is still a physical division and a physical sport.

“All supporters want their teams to run around and leave it all out there. That doesn’t change from Anfield, to Millwall to Bramall Lane.”