Sheffield United: Cut out the mistakes and this team can beat the big guns

Despite expressing his delight at the result, and the courage they displayed to achieve it, manager Chris Wilder was frustrated by the manner of the goals Sheffield United conceded against Chelsea.

Friday, 30th August 2019, 18:01 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st September 2019, 18:52 pm
Sheffield United celebrate their second goal: James Wilson/Sportimage

Tammy Abraham appeared to have put the five-time Premier League champions in control of the fixture by scoring twice before the break, taking advantage of careless defending on both occasions and ensuring United were made to pay for their mistakes.

But strikes from Callum Robinson and Lys Mousset - television replays suggest his effort has been wrongly described as a Kurt Zouma own goal - saw Wilder's men claim a point. Although he praised his team's resilience, the 51-year-old's decision to confront United's failings was significant, confirming Wilder believes there is even more to come from his players.

"We always knew we were going to be on the back foot at times, because of the players Chelsea have got," he said, after watching United claim their fifth point from four games. "I was really disappointed with the goals, because it was two individual errors. But I was delighted with my team, and in the manner the came roaring back."

Chris Wilder: James Wilson/Sportimage

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Wilder's willingness to volunteer the details of his displeasure also reveals another important characteristic of the environment he has created behind the scenes at Bramall Lane. After watching his side issue arguably their most important statement of the season so far - despite operating under a transfer ban, Chelsea still had three players who cost £50m or more in their starting eleven - Wilder could easily have focused solely on the positives aspects of United's performances. But by choosing to deliver a more critical analysis, he sent a message to their dressing room: standards are important and so too is the refusal to ever be satisfied. It is those two things which have fuelled United rise from League One to the top-flight in only three seasons.

"We dug in when we had to," Wilder said. "And then we dug it out."

Dean Henderson followed those instructions to the letter when he produced an excellent save to deny Abraham his hat-trick following Robinson's effort. Earlier the goalkeeper, on-loan from Manchester United, had been responsible for presenting the centre-forward with the opportunity to break the deadlock by failing to gather under pressure from Christian Pulisic. John Egan and Jack O'Connell were culpable for Abraham's second but also looked assured after the break, with Mousset converting when the ball ricocheted off Kurt Zouma at the death.

"I don't think there was a lot wrong with our first half performance," Wilder said, noting how Robinson had gone close following Henderson's mistake. "I think the shape was good. We possibly had the best chance of the half. "We know we weren't going to come here and steamroller Chelsea. But we were 2-0 down because of two cheap goals."

But Chris Wilder was disappointed by the goals they conceded at Chelsea: James Wilson/Sportimage