Goalkeeper reveals why he is backing "relentless" Sheffield United to win the race for Europe
Sheffield United’s “relentless” pursuit of success can give them an edge in the race to qualify for Europe next term, goalkeeper Simon Moore has insisted, after describing how manager Chris Wilder is refusing to be satisfied with his team’s achievements so far.
Only a year after being promoted from the Championship - and three after leaving the third tier - Wilder’s side had climbed to seventh in the Premier League table when the season was suspended three months ago because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking ahead of next week’s match at Aston Villa - United’s first competitive outing since March - Moore revealed Wilder’s drive and focus on signing good characters as well as players have been the catalysts for the club’s success following his appointment in 2016.
“Ever since I’ve been here, it’s been a really tight-knit dressing room,” Moore, a member of the squad which amassed 100 points en route to the League One title, said. “It’s such a good group of lads that wants to do well but it’s also a really talented group. Because hard work, at this level, only takes you so far.
“Going into the Premier League, the lads have really shown what they’re about. They’ve shown they belong at this level and deserve to be where they are.
"I take my hat off to the gaffer and the recruitment staff for what they've done.”
United will climb to fifth - two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with nine matches remaining - if they win at Villa Park
“The mentality here breeds from the gaffer,” Moore added. “He’s relentless. Going back to League One, even after we’d sealed promoted he demanded we got 100 points. Then when we came 10th in the Championship the year after, which is good achievement for a newly promoted club, he still wasn’t happy.
“Safety isn’t enough for him now, either. He wants Europe. He’s relentless.”
Moore, aged 30, made his top-flight debut against Manchester United in November when the on-loan Dean Henderson was prohibited from facing his former club.
With United also preparing for an FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal, further opportunities are likely to present themselves between now and the end of the campaign - as the PL squeezes its remaining 92 matches into a month-and-a-half long window. One of those sees United travel to Old Trafford on June 24, when Henderson will again be ineligible for selection.
“It’s been difficult for myself as I’ve not played as many games as I would have liked,” Moore said. “But I’m still working hard to better myself.
“My role has been a bit different but I’ve embraced it and I like to think I’ve helped us achieve. It would be easy for a lot of players to take their foot off the gas and let things slide, but that hasn’t happened.”
“You’ve got the likes of Jags (Phil Jagielka) who has only played a few times as well but he’s been a huge character in the dressing room and a big part of our success so far,” Moore added.