Sheffield United: ‘We can’t be a spike team, even in the Premier League’
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has thrown down the gauntlet to his players, challenging them to maintain their consistency levels in the Premier League next season despite acknowledging the step-up in class.
After securing automatic promotion from the Championship last term, Bramall Lane is preparing to stage top-flight football for the first time in over a decade following another successful campaign under the 51-year-old.
Wilder, who has won 81 of his 151 matches at the helm since inheriting a squad languishing in the third tier, confirmed earlier this week that the majority of those who finished second in the table will be given a chance to prove themselves at the highest level.
But, issuing an important caveat, he said: "I don’t want us to be a spike team. I don’t us to be a nine out of 10 one week and five out of 10 the next. We’re after that consistency. We’re always trying to improve.
"We’ve done that from the experience of last season, bringing new players in and we looked at what we needed to improve on as staff."
Although they averaged 1.93 points per game last season, United paved the way for new arrivals after publishing their retained and released list earlier this week. Paul Coutts and Martin Cranie were the two most notable casualties, but Wilder, who also made Ched Evans and Leon Clarke available for transfer, admitted departures were inevitable.
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Highlighting how United out-perfomed the likes of Aston Villa and Leeds despite selling David Brooks to AFC Bournemouth 10 months ago, he said:
"We did a bit of business with David Brooks going out which gave us a bit of a lift in the budget.
"There was an improvement in the squad in terms of personnel. We looked at it and wanted to do better. We're aiming to improve now."