Sheffield United: Chris Wilder reveals Aston Villa's 'classy touch' following their defeat at Bramall Lane
Chris Wilder paid tribute to Aston Villa’s coaching staff, including his opposite number Dean Smith and assistant head coach John Terry, for showing their “class” following Sheffield United’s win over the visitors from the Midlands.
Speaking after two goals from John Fleck propelled United to a hard-fought but deserved victory, Wilder revealed the two men waited in the tunnel to congratulate “every single one” of his players on their performance.
Wilder also thanked Neil Cutler, Villa’s goalkeeping coach, for doing the same.
“I thought that showed their class, what they’re about as people,” the United manager said. “People won’t have seen because it wasn’t out there on the pitch but they shook the hand of every single one of our players and told them ‘well done.’ That was a really good touch.”
“Dean, like me, is a fan of his team as well,” Wilder, a lifelong United supporter, added. “So I know he will have been hurting after the result. The same goes for John, because they’re terrific professionals. But they put that to one side, they put their feelings and emotions to one side, and did that. You’ve got to have respect for that.”
United finished the match in fifth after grinding down a stubborn Villa side which, by Smith’s own admission, had arrived intent on stifling the hosts’ attacking threat. The result means United have now beaten both of last season’s other two promoted clubs, after overcoming Norwich City at Carrow Road six days earlier.
Wilder arrived late for the post-match press conference, having shared a drink with Smith in his office following the final whistle.
Suggesting not all top flight managers respect this tradition, he said: “Maybe it’s something I’ve got to get used to, being at this level, but I knew Dean would (come in) because he’s got the same ideas about it as me.”