Sheffield United: 'If you criticise this lad, then you're being ridiculous'
Chris Wilder has described criticism of David McGoldrick as "ridiculous", revealing the Sheffield United centre-forward missed his team's victory over Everton after volunteering for extra-training ahead of the visit to Goodison Park.
McGoldrick sat-out the 2-0 win with a groin strain, which he sustained during an impromptu session designed to sharpen his finishing in front of goal.
With Lys Mousset scoring United's second against Marco Silva's side, the Republic of Ireland international is now the only United striker yet to hit the target since the beginning of the new Premier League campaign.
But Wilder insisted McGoldrick, who missed a series of chances when Southampton triumphed at Bramall Lane seven days earlier, is standing shoulder to shoulder with the 31-year-old as United's preparations for this weekend's meeting with Liverpool begin in earnest.
Suggesting McGoldrick had been stung by some of the commentary surrounding his most recent performance, the United manager said: "So what does he do? He has a finishing session on his own and then goes back out to have another finishing session, because he's trying to improve his skills and get that aspect of his game out of his system. It was then, he tweaked his groin.
"But that tells you what kind of boy he is. An international player. Any sort of negativity or criticism towards him is ridiculous, because he gives everything for this football club and is brilliant for us."
"I think we've got to be careful as a football club, because of the results and the way we've played, that we don't put too much pressure on our players," Wilder continued. "A couple of things got flagged up to me (after losing to Southampton). This team, where they've come from, they don't deserve 70 per cent report. They deserve 100 per cent support."
Despite producing a first-half performance Wilder claimed was their worst of the season so far, United led Everton at the break following Yerry Mina's own goal. Substitute Mousset secured the points when he stretched their advantage during the closing stages, profiting from John Lundstram's superb pass. Like Phil Jagielka, who was introduced after the interval, Lundstram is a former Everton player.
"We had a few words afterwards," Wilder, whose squad face Sunderland in the Carbao Cup on Wednesday, said. "Jags told me 'gaffer, the boys have just won at Everton,' and he put things into perspective. I told them I didn't expect them to go straight home, to go out and have a few beers to celebrate and savour the win because winning any game of football is a great feeling. I was just being a mardy a***d Yorkshireman in there, to be fair. We're not much fun at times are we."