Sander Berge shocked by what he's seen at Sheffield United
Chris Wilder’s unique over-lapping centre-back system has earned him plenty of plaudits as he’s guided Sheffield United to the fringes of European qualification in their first season back in the Premier League for 12 years.
Of course, regulars to Bramall Lane are no strangers to the innovative 3-5-2 tactic which has taken the top flight by surprise as United look to seal a top six finish – or maybe even higher.
The unorthodox system, which Wilder first deployed in the Blades’ Championship season of 2017-18, has arguably become one of the biggest talking points of the Premier League campaign aside from Liverpool’s relentless march to the title.
But it’s not just opposition teams and pundits unfamiliar with a system that has helped the Blades to rub shoulders with England’s elite, but new players coming into the club too.
One such player is the Blades’ record signing, the Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge, who arrived from Belgian outfit Genk for £22m shortly before the transfer window slammed shut.
Berge has settled well into his new surroundings and is already proving to be a popular acquisition among the Bramall Lane faithful.
And speaking to VG in his native Norway (via Sport Witness), the 22-year-old has spoken about how he’s adapted to Wilder’s innovative tactics in the short time since his move.
“I’ve never experienced it before. And I’ve never played in such a system before either,” said Berge.
“The intention is to be unpredictable. It’s a little different.
“It’s about creating situations where we outnumber at the edges, so we can play three on two, four to three, creating an outnumber [situation] where it’s the least dangerous to lose the ball.
“Backwards, we let in very little and defend ourselves with sacrifice, compactness and aggressiveness. That is the main reason for the success.”
Berge, capped 20 times by Norway, also revealed that he has been more than satisfied with how his career in England has begun.
“Considering that I have neither been involved in such a system nor such a role before, it has been a good start,” he said. “But of course, it’s challenging at first.”