Sheffield United: Rival boss reveals what impresses him most about Chris Wilder’s team

Earlier this year, during a newspaper interview covering his first four months in post, Brentford manager Thomas Frank made an admission which explains why he hopes Sheffield United go up.

By James Shield
Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 2:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 2:58 pm
Thomas Frank: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Thomas Frank: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

"It is important for us to have good people," The Dane said. "No d*******s, only good people...we want people who actually care."

On Tuesday, as he watched his team battle it out with United from the touchline, Frank liked what he saw. Not the result; Chris Wilder's side prevailing 2-0 despite Gary Madine's first-half sending-off. But the sight of 11 players digging so deep to secure three points certainly struck a chord. Hence why United, third in the Championship after 37 games, travel to Leeds this weekend with Frank's best wishes.

"Big credit to Chris Wilder and his coaching staff," he said, before leaving Bramall Lane. "I know they are going into a very big game but wins like this can define a season. You could see the desire and mentality and the tactical adjustments. 

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

"I know people have to say they take it one game at a time, but I can see them going all the way, yes. They are a very good team, clearly."

Frank, a former sports psychology student, is not the first opposition coach to praise United this season. Marcelo Bielsa, Wilder's counterpart at Elland Road, described them as being "worthy of study" before Leeds' visit to South Yorkshire in December.

But Frank, previously of Brøndby IF, went further by highlighting the personality of Wilder's squad as crucial. Perhaps even more so, he acknowledged in the context of a promotion battle, than the pioneering system it employs.

"It is not easy, to play games like that," Frank said. "I don't think they had one player standing out and that is probably one of their biggest strengths. They are a team."

United must display the same solidarity which enabled them to withstand Brentford's pressure when they face fellow Premier League hopefuls Leeds on Saturday lunchtime. Bielsa's men, who climbed to the summit of the table when they beat Reading two days ago, have won five of their last six outings and the fixture has already sold out. 

"Can I see them doing it? Yes, I can." Frank said, when asked if United will go up. "I wish them all the best because, like I say, they're a team. That's something you must respect and like."