'Don't listen to the people peddling nonsense' - Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder hits his players with new order
Sheffield United’s players have been urged to ignore the “noise and nonsense” surrounding their poor start to the new Premier League season, with manager Chris Wilder insisting he “still believes” in his team despite watching it take only a point from the opening seven games.
United suffered their latest defeat when Manchester City visited Bramall Lane on Saturday, limiting opponents who deployed £479m worth of talent during the fixture to a solitary first-half goal, but struggling to create chances themselves at the other end of the pitch.
Although that must be weighed against the calibre of the talent at Pep Guardiola’s disposal, Wilder accepted United’s recent results will see his team enter this weekend’s game against Chelsea under intense scrutiny.
Despite making no attempt to make light of the situation United now find themselves in, Wilder said: “These are the players we’ve got and we believe in them. They are good players. We won’t take a wrecking ball to it.”
Those words suggest that United will continue to persevere with their 3-5-2 system at Stamford Bridge, despite losing Jack O’Connell, one of the most influential cogs within in, being ruled-out for the remainder of the campaign through injury. The defender is recovering from knee surgery while midfielder John Fleck, another of Wilder’s most important squad members, could be absent for around another month as he receives treatment for a back complaint sustained while on international duty with Scotland. Lys Mousset, who scored five times in 10 outings at the beginning of last season, is also set to miss the trip to west London because of a toe problem. The centre-forward has not featured in a competitive fixture since the end of last term, when United finished ninth despite having only just been promoted from the Championship.
Despite lamenting their carelessness in possession against City - “We turned it over far too often, we made poor decisions, some of them baffled me” - Wilder repeated his claim that United’s points tally does not reflect their recent performances, which also saw them run Liverpool close at Anfield last month.
“We’re not punishing teams when we get into good positions,” he said. “And we have to ignore the noise and the nonsense that people are coming up with.”