'If anybody can get them going, he can get them going' - what former Manchester City star and other pundits said about Sheffield United's Chris Wilder after West Ham defeat
Sheffield United returned to action following the international break yesterday . . . but sadly they couldn’t register their first win of the Premier League campaign, succumbing to a 1-0 reverse against West Ham United at Bramall Lane.
The Blades’ elusive search for their first win leaves Chris Wilder’s side at the foot of the table with just one point having lost eight of their opening nine games this season.
Speaking after the defeat, the Blades manager was in bullish mood saying: “The team is together, they’re having a go. The Premier League is cut throat and we’re just falling a little short at the moment.
“I’m okay with today’s performance, we’re just lacking a little bit of quality that comes with belief and confidence.
“I thought our attitude to the game was good, the start was good, but it’s fine margins that decide games. They’ve found a goal and we haven’t. It comes down to a bit of belief.”
But what did the pundits make of United’s latest setback? Let’s take a look.
Freddie Ljungberg, former Arsenal and Sweden star and Sky Sports studio pundit on Oli McBurnie hitting the bar
"Massive chance. He has a great, great turn, a great pass in behind him (from Rhian Brewster), a great touch. He puts it exactly where he needs to, over the shoulder of the goalie but when you’re down there the margins don’t want to be with you. For me, if I was playing, I would have put it in the same place.”
Micah Richards, ex-Manchester City defender and Match of the Day pundit
“They have got a good enough manager. If anybody can get them going, he can get them going but they’re just lacking that little bit of quality.
"Last season no one knew what to expect of them, but now everybody knows what to expect from them so they’re finding it that little bit more difficult.”
Danny Murphy, former Liverpool midfielder and Match of the Day pundit
“They’ve lost a little bit of confidence. I don’t think it’s helping not having the supporters, especially for the clubs down at the bottom who are fighting for their lives.
"But it’s just drained out of them and they need to find some belief from somewhere and if it’s a lucky win that does that, so be it, but they’ve got a great manager and they’ve got togetherness.”
Stephen Warnock, former Liverpool defender speaking on Sky Sports News’ Football Show about Wilder’s future
"It's a results-driven industry, and you'll always get people asking the question.
“I think it’s a lazy question because you look at the job that he’s done over his time, not only at Sheffield United, but being a manager, his record’s incredible.
"You’re going to have tough times. This is the Premier League, you’re playing against elite teams.
"He’s brought in players, but to take them to that next level – it’s second season syndrome in the Premier League.
"It was always going to be difficult for them, but you have to stick with him. The job that he’s done, he’s got credit in the bank – more than enough.
“Obviously, he’s got the best interests of Sheffield United at heart, with being a fan.”
Warnock also leapt to the defence of Blades striker Oli McBurne, who is yet to find the net this season and had United’s best chance yesterday.
"Similar to Patrick Bamford, he's getting in areas. Don't get me wrong, Bamford's scored goals in the past, but he didn't score yesterday. What I love about him is his positioning. He's doing the right things, he's getting in the right areas."
And speaking about McBurnie hitting the bar: "This is the opportunity that worries men, because he should score from this position. He's in front of the defender, pushes it ever so slightly wide. He should be going hard, low, across the goalkeeper, but the confidence isn't quite there.
"He goes high, tries to beat Fabianski at his near post, and they're the opportunities that Sheffield United and McBurnie aren't putting away at the moment.
"But positive signs are that he's getting in the positions. All strikers are judged on getting in the positions and then they always say that if you keep on making the runs, the goals will come"
Patrice Evra, ex-Manchester United defender and Sky Sports studio pundit on the goal the Blades conceded
"It’s when you know this team has lost its confidence because they were going to attack. The ball goes back to the goalkeeper (Aaron Ramsdale) and even he is doing his best because it’s his wrong foot, but after that there’s no pressing. The team is really wide (open).
"Of course, West Ham get a little bit of luck because there’s a great block by the defender (and the ball falls to Sébastien Haller) but what a strike and what a goal.
“But that shows you the lack of confidence of Sheffield (United) because from attacking to conceding a goal it tells you everything.”
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