Sheffield United: Why Chris Wilder was so generous about Bolton Wanderers and quick to arrive in Bramall Lane’s post-match media suite

Chris Wilder made his way to the media room so quickly, he caught several journalists on the hop.

Sunday, 3rd February 2019, 11:15 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 16:10 pm
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The result undoubtedly hastened his arrival. But, following Sheffield United's victory over Bolton Wanderers, he also had an appointment with some close friends to keep.

"Steve and Lee are proper professionals and good pals of mine," Wilder said, referring to the visitors' assistant manager Steve Parkin and their goalkeeping coach Lee Butler. "It's a difficult situation for them at the moment but they are proper characters and who is to say they won't get out of it again, like they did last year."

After discussing a win which briefly lifted his team to second in the table, Wilder hurried back downstairs to his office where the two men were waiting. There, deep inside the bowels of Bramall Lane, they shared a few beers and best wishes for the future as Norwich City's meeting with Leeds unfolded on a flat screen television.

The presence of Parkin and Butler went some way towards explaining why, despite witnessing more signs of his squad's growing maturity, Wilder refused to go overboard about United's promotion credentials afterwards. But, having offered his consolations to a Wanderers side fighting for survival at the other end of the division, he also acknowledged events less than an hour earlier confirmed the path to the Premier League is littered with potential pitfalls.

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 "If we hadn't shaken ourselves out of our coasting mentality, any result could have happened," Wilder continued, casting his mind-back to a first-half which had seen United struggle to gain momentum. "We knew they were going to be dogged opponents, we reminded all along that they have professional pride at stake.

"We watched them, Bolton, against West Brom a couple of weeks ago and they were really unlucky not to come away with something.

"There are tight results in the Championship and we had to work hard. It was a really slow game to begin with and I suppose they will have been delighted with that. We had to speed it up and, when we did, we got the goal."

United claimed another, following David McGoldrick's opener, when Billy Sharp turned home from close range to double their advantage. The 2-0 scoreline suggested a comfortable afternoon but, for long periods before interval, it was nothing of the sort.

With City's win at Elland Road dropping United back into third, three points behind Leeds and their rivals from Carrow Road, Wilder added: "It was maybe a gentle reminder to us that we can't coast through games, we have to go full tilt to try and blow the opposition away."