Sheffield United: Blades manager responds to opponent’s taunt
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has responded to claims that Leeds deserve to reach the Premier League as the battle for automatic promotion from the Championship becomes increasingly fierce.
Speaking after Marcelo Bielsa's side regained second place following last weekend's win over Millwall, Tyler Roberts, the West Yorkshire club's striker, insisted his team mates were back where they "belong" after losing to United a fortnight earlier.
With his squad entering tomorrow's game against Preston North End in third, two points behind Leeds with seven matches remaining, Wilder struck a more humble tone when those comments were put to him last night.
"I knew there'd be noise and nonsense from managers and players alike," he said. "There always is at this stage of the season.
"Where they belong? I know that's got to be earned. If anyone wins five out of seven or six or seven, then I'll make a phone call to that manager saying 'well done' because they'll have deserved it.
"Anybody, with everything that's going off, they'd deserve all the praise in the world if they do that."
Although Wilder appeared to suggest that leaders Norwich City will go on to win the title after posting seven straight victories - "What they're doing, especially at this moment, is brilliant" - he insisted United possess both the character and the calibre to take their dog-fight with Leeds right down to the wire.
Backing his players to bounce back from their defeat to Bristol City six days ago – a result which ended their 10 match unbeaten run – he said: "Yes, we bring in good people. We have to believe in what we've done.
"You don't get to this position without being in form all the way through. Otherwise we'd be one of those huge clubs clambering to try and get into the play-offs wouldn't we. We are where we are on merit. So, from our point of view, don't change anything."
United have not lost back to back games since August but Wilder warned that record does not mean they can relax at Deepdale, adding: "Just because that's the case, and this isn't me being negative, it doesn't mean anything now.
“We've not got to take a wrecking ball to it. Just go out there, as we always do, and give everything to try and win."