Sheffield United: Which rival manager was the first to congratulate The Blades on reaching the Premier League?

On Sunday afternoon, when the final whistle blew at Leeds and Sheffield United's promotion party began in earnest, Chris Wilder stepped outside to find a quiet spot and read the text which had just pinged through to his phone.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 5:26 pm
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: James Wilson/Sportimage

The night before, when Norwich City had confirmed their top-flight status with a win over Blackburn Rovers, the 51-year-old had contacted his opposite number at Carrow Road to offer congratulations.

Within seconds of United joining them, Daniel Farke replied with a message of his own. The content of which, Wilder revealed last night, went above and beyond managerial protocol.

"Daniel Farke sent a lovely text through when it was all done and dusted," he said. "He was really complimentary.

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"I'd got in touch with him when they went up to say well done and that they'd deserved it. He replied, saying exactly the same about us, and plenty of other really nice things."

Wilder, whose team joined City in the Premier League when Marcelo Bielsa's side failed to beat Aston Villa, admits he does not always see eye to eye with Farke on the touchline. The two men, and indeed their two clubs, seem to rub each other up the wrong way whenever they have met in Championship competition.

But behind the scenes, away from the heat of battle and pressures of a top two push, their relationship is different. Indeed it was telling, after also praising Bielsa for proving a worthy adversary this term, that Wilder kept shoe-horning the German's name into conversation.

"I know everybody thinks there's a problem between me and Daniel," he continued. "Genuinely there isn't. Nothing could be further from the truth."Yes, we've had some real battles with them and sometimes that spills over.

Sheffield United's David McGoldrick and Christoph Zimmermann: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“But there's a real respect there from us to them and clearly, with what Daniel, that goes both ways. They've got respect for us and I think that's brilliant. It's appreciated."

United and City will be squaring up for another confrontation of sorts of Sunday, when they sign off their seasons with visits to Stoke and Villa respectively. Wilder's men, five points clear of Leeds and boasting a vastly superior goal difference, are only three behind Farke's charges who sit at the summit of the table. If City lose and United prevail at the bet365 Stadium, then the title will be heading to South Yorkshire rather than East Anglia.

"Whoever finishes first will deserve to finish first," Wilder said, repeating a message he consistently peddled as United's dog-fight with Leeds grew increasingly intense. "If it's City, then they'll have deserved it because this is all about what you do over the course of a season. Not patches here and there.

“The same goes for the top two as a whole. So if it's us, then we'll have deserved it too. And the same goes for who comes up out of the play-offs."

Mark Duffy and Tom Trybull do battle at Carrow Road earlier this season : Simon Bellis/Sportimage

United and City will discover when they will meet again on Thursday 13 June, when the Premier League fixtures for the 2019/20 campaign are released.

"I really like how they (City) go about things," Wilder said. "I've admired what they've done this year because, like us, they've got their own way of doing things. We're different but that's football and that's good."

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke: Martin Rickett/PA Wire