Sheffield United: ‘Most of the media want Leeds to go up. We’re determined to make them eat their words’
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has admitted his players are desperate to prove the media wrong after claiming the majority want Leeds to win their duel for automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Wilder was speaking after goals from Mark Duffy and Enda Stevens condemned Nottingham Forest to defeat at Bramall Lane and ensured United maintained the pressure on Marcelo Bielsa's squad as the season enters its final three games.
Asked if there was a "groundswell of opinion" in favour of their Yorkshire rivals following a series of articles in the national press, United's manager replied: "One hundred per cent, of course there is. You can't do anything about that.
"This season isn't finished yet, though. When it is, that's the time to hand out plaudits. Or when it's mathematically done. But it isn't, is it. It isn't done with three games to go."
United climbed above Leeds on goal difference following their victory over Forest, who were reduced to 10 men early in the second-half following Yohan Benalouane’s sending-off.
Then Leeds went down to a shock 2-1 defeat to lowly 10-man Wigan.
"I'm not a great loser but I'm an honest guy," Wilder, whose side travel to Hull City on Monday, continued. "I'll be the first on the phone to someone if they do it (get promoted).
Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
"Plaudits for me come at the end of the season and there's still a bit of football to be played."
In front of co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who watched the fixture from a private box, Duffy gave United the lead soon after Benalouane's dismissal before Stevens converted during the closing stages.
Before the match, Gary Madine confirmed he wants to remain with United when his loan from Cardiff City expires.
The former Sheffield Wednesday centre-forward is scheduled to return to Wales at the end of the campaign but has told his parent club he would prefer to extend his stay in South Yorkshire.
"This feels like home to me now," he said. "I'd be devastated if I had to move on from here at the end of the season. I'd love to stay for as long as the manager wants me and hopefully that's beyond the summer.
"I knew I'd enjoy it here, that's why I jumped at the chance to come, but I wasn't thinking about the future, I just wanted to come and play games, score goals and win promotion again."