The pressure on Sheffield United is beginning to show as Premier League reality dawns

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder fears his players are beginning to wilt under pressure as their hopes of Premier League survival slip away.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 6:00 am

United began preparing for Saturday’s visit to Fulham 14 points adrift of safety with only 14 games remaining after losing 3-0 at West Ham on Monday evening.

Acknowledging their chances of avoiding relegation are now almost non-existent even - regardless of their result at Craven Cottage this weekend - Wilder admitted United’s performance at the London Stadium betrayed signs of stress.

Explaining why a team which finished ninth in the table last term now finds itself at the bottom, he said: “We didn’t make the mistakes we are making now then. I know that’s what people will be saying and they’ll be wondering what we’re doing differently. The answer is that’s what pressure does to you and that’s what a lack of points does to you.

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“The errors we are making, the choices at times and the decisions, they are all a part of that.”

Despite beating Manchester United, Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion since the turn of the year, United’s display against David Moyes’ side was littered with individual errors. Describing two of the three goals they conceded as “really preventable”, Wilder added: “We have to give ourselves footholds in the games and we are doing that. Too often, though, we’re then undoing all that work with a mistake.

“We’ve all got to take a look at what we’re doing, and that includes ourselves as coaching staff. If we’d done more right things, then we wouldn’t be in this situation as deep.”

“But I also believe there’s other factors to consider too, many of which are uncontrollable from our perspective.”

Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, London. Picture date: 15th February 2021. Picture credit should read: David Klein/Sportimage

Wilder was referring to the difficulties caused by a lengthy injury list, which were exacerbated by United’s failure to strengthen during the recent transfer window. John Egan, Jack O’Connell and Sander Berge are among those definitely ruled-out of the trip to west London, with John Fleck also likely to be unavailable following illness.

“Jack and Sander have been out for a while,” Wilder said. “Losing the two Johns is another huge blow for us.”

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Jesse Lingard of West Ham United takes on Chris Basham of Sheffield United and Enda Stevens: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Chris Wilder takes his team to Fulham this weekend: Simon Bellis/Sportimage