Sheffield Derby: ‘I’m not sure it was enough for them to be chucking shirts into the crowd’
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has disputed suggestions his team will enter Monday's derby at Hillsborough under more pressure than Sheffield Wednesday.
Instead, pointing to United's position in the table, Wilder argued the sight of their neighbours chasing automatic promotion from the Championship means Steve Bruce's players are under greater scrutiny.
"Regarding pressure, we are second in the division and have got the chance to beat our local rivals in front of a capacity crowd live on television," he said earlier today. "There’s bigger pressures on Sheffield Wednesday. They want to go and win a game of football for their supporters and they want to stop us going up. I don’t think any Sheffield football fan will have a different opinion on that."
Next week's game marks the first meeting between the two clubs since November's goalless draw at Bramall Lane; a match which saw Wednesday, then under Jos Luhukay's command, grind-out a goalless draw to end a run of four straight defeats. Midway through last term, Wednesday secured the same result during the Dutchman's first game in charge.
Predicting Bruce's presence in the technical area will see the hosts adopt a more attack-minded approach, Wilder said: "They've got to have a go. The last two, I think it was more relief. I don't think it was the way, though, of how both football clubs have been set up.
"What I will say, in terms of us, is that we didn't do enough in both games. We didn't put them to bed and you've got to give them credit for the resilience. Whether it was enough (for Wednesday's players) to be chucking shirts into the crowd at the end of the game, that's another argument. But credit to them."
Although both Bruce and Wilder have spoken of their respect for each other, the latter insisted that does not diminish the rivalry between the two clubs.
"Being totally honest, I am not sat there watching them play in the play-off final wanting them to get into the Premier League," Wilder, a lifelong United supporter, said. "It’s vice-versa. That’s just part of being involved in Sheffield."