The mindset Sheffield United will take into their game against Manchester City is revealed

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has dismissed suggestions that tomorrow’s visit to Manchester City represents a “free hit” for his players, despite the vast difference in financial resources between the two clubs.

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 11:45 am
Sheffield United are set to face Manchester City, the reigning Premier League champions, at the Etihad Stadium: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

The match, at the Etihad Stadium, pits newly promoted United against arguably the richest team in world football, with Pep Guardiola’s plans bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment; a private equity company owned by a member of the emirate’s royal family.

But Wilder, whose squad moved to within three points of the Champions League places following Thursday’s draw with Watford, said: “There has to be total respect but we’re not overdoing it.

“We won’t do anything more on Manchester City than we did for Watford, or possibly the lads won’t get on the bus.

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“I don’t see it as a free hit. We’re in the position we’re in on merit. Manchester City are one of the leading lights of English and world football. This league pitches teams who have come out of the Championship against the likes of them.”

United travel to the Premier League title-holders unbeaten away from home since January although, with leaders Liverpool also on the agenda next week, Wilder concedes that record is under serious threat.

“We’ve got to have the bounce of the ball, a bit of luck and Manchester City not to have a great day,” he said. “It won’t be the biggest result in the history of football if we get something. But we do understand we’re right up against it.”

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder ahead of the trip to Manchester City: Simon Bellis/Sportimage