Sheffield United: Chris Wilder ‘steams’ into the promotion debate, revealing how his team plans to approach the remaining 10 games and why they can last the pace
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has challenged his team to "steam" into its final few games of the season as the battle for Premier League football enters a pivotal stage.
United finished the weekend in third, after briefly climbing to second in the Championship, following their victory over Rotherham.
With only 10 matches of the campaign remaining, Wilder's side return to action when Brentford visit South Yorkshire on Tuesday before travelling to Leeds four days later. Marcelo Bielsa's squad occupy the second automatic promotion berth, behind leaders Norwich City.
"We've got to get to the international break, get through this big week, then take a deep breath and steam into the last eight games," Wilder said. "The Championship can hurt you. Everybody looks at Leeds but it won't matter if we don't get Tuesday right."
"We only look at ourselves, it's only natural people talk about putting pressure on others," he added. "But we just try to prepare as best we can and then move on.
“That's how it will be.”
"If we're in and among it with three or four games to go, then great. We've just got to keep grinding away, which is why this was a big result."
Although Rotherham remained in the relegation zone, conceding goals either side of captain Will Vaulks' sending-off, Wilder insisted a number of factors, including both the derby atmosphere and opposition's "effective game plan" meant it was impossible to downplay the significance of the result.
Although Brentford and to a lesser extent Leeds will examine United's technical prowess, Paul Warne's charges posed a physical test as they attempted to exploit Michael Smith's presence in attack. The 24-year-old, who stands six feet three inches tall, was particularly dangerous from dead ball situations.
Wilder, highlighting United's eight match unbeaten run as confirmation they can cope with a variety of challenges, said: "This game won't be like the next or the one after that. It's not one off games, it's different obstacles and different opposition.
"It's (about overcoming) injuries and lack of form or suspensions. It's about getting through the race and the three who go up will be the three best equipped to do that."