Sheffield United: Boss Chris Wilder praises Blades' character as they bounce back from Aston Villa despair to beat promotion rivals Middlesbrough
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United boss, praised his side's character as they beat promotion rivals Middlesbrough 1-0 to strengthen their grip on third place in the Championship.
Defender Richard Stearman, who replaced the injured George Baldock in the first half, scored the only goal of the game as he nodded home Ollie Norwood's excellent free-kick to seal all three points.
Boro manager Tony Pulis insisted after the game that Stearman fouled Dael Fry as he headed home, while Daniel Ayala was sent off for two bookable offences, and Wilder said: "We felt a bit sorry for ourselves early on and maybe had a bit of a hangover from Friday at Aston Villa but the players showed tremendous character to drive the game forward.
"That response from Friday night was the biggest thing for me, and I told the players in the huddle after the game that I was delighted with the character they showed.
"It was a tight game but I wouldn't expect anything else, because it's football at the top of the Championship."
United were dealt a blow before kick off when, with Chris Basham already suspended, Jack O'Connell missed out with a tight hamstring.
"We wanted to make contact with them because it was a bit easy for them early on, we weren't at our best and with the changes, we didn't get in a rhythm," Wilder added.
"Gaz [Gary Madine] made a big difference when he came on, gave us a focal point and won a few headers and tackles, waking the crowd up.
"We scored with a set-piece, too, which was encouraging because we got done up at Boro with a couple. So I'm delighted we scored and won a tight game."