Sheffield United: Why Chris Wilder chose to stand shoulder to shoulder with one of his players in defeat

After encouraging his players to be "brave" on the ball and pose questions of the opposition, Chris Wilder privately accepts there will be times when things go wrong.

Friday, 23rd August 2019, 15:54 pm
Updated Sunday, 25th August 2019, 13:11 pm
Chris Wilder: James Wilson/Sportimage

So it was no surprise to hear him absolve Chris Basham of any responsibility for Sheffield United's defeat by Leicester City, following the defender's role in Jamie Vardy's opener.

Basham's error - Ayoze Pérez robbed him of possession before James Maddison seized the ball - set in motion the chain of events which saw City score the first of two goals either side of Oli McBurnie's equaliser. But having criticised United's attention to detail during a scrappy first-half, Wilder ignored an invitation to criticise Basham when it was presented to him during the post-match media conference.

"We have to play brave," he said. "So Bash's error, I'm not going to dwell on it.

"He wasn't the only win who gave the ball away. We weren't composed enough in possession. People have ideas about how we play but we're a possession based football team. You can't do that if you keep turning it over can you?"

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

United, who have now taken four points from the opening three games of the new Premier League season, will potentially face an even greater test of their ability to retain possession at Chelsea on Saturday.

Although Wilder acknowledged the quality at City's disposal - praising the finish Harvey Barnes produced to decide the fixture - he indicated United plan to attack Frank Lampard's side.

"You come to expect quality like that," Wilder said. "You come to expect 10 free-kicks outside our box, although I'm not sure all of them were warranted. But I look at our performance first and foremost. The better team won, I believe, because we didn't do enough. I'm more concerned from our point of view."

"When it goes to 1-1, we should have gone on and strangled the game," he added. "We should have really gone for the jugular. But we just couldn't find that little bit of quality."