Sheffield United: Blades boss issues bold Premier League pledge
Chris Wilder has vowed Sheffield United will continue to try and attack the biggest names in the Premier League after claiming it would be footballing suicide to adopt a more defensive approach.
Wilder was speaking after watching a five match unbeaten run lift his team to fifth, only seven months after being promoted from the Championship, ahead of their meeting with Manchester United later this month.
Revealing he took a conscious decision at the beginning of the season to retain the outlook which saw United climb from the third to the first tier during his first three years at the club, Wilder said: "There's been no change of approach. We don't just sit deep and try to rely on the counter attack.
"We want to try and score goals. We want to take the game to the opposition. We don't just want to sit there and wait to get beat."
Despite boasting the joint-best defence in the division, United's summer recruitment drive was focused on bolstering the attacking options at Wilder's disposal with the likes of Lys Mousset, Callum Robinson, Luke Freeman and record signing Oli McBurnie among those to arrive at Bramall Lane. With two of his three man defence veterans of 2017's League One title winning campaign, the United manager is proud of the fact his squad have conceded fewer goals than the likes of leaders Liverpool and their forthcoming opponents, who have won five of their last six outings in all competitions.
But having dismissed attempts to portray United as a team set-up to frustrate - "I don't see that at all. We just want to be solid and well-organised, as you have to be" - Wilder believes their commitment to posing questions of their own as well as attempting to answer those set by rival clubs provides a template for others attempting to establish themselves at the highest level to follow.
Using events at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend - where United had a goal ruled-out by the VAR official before recovering to secure a draw - Wilder said: "You see so many newly promoted teams coming up against top-flight sides that have been there for ages, they hold in and maybe look to nick something on the break. There's different ways to play but that isn't how we want to do it, even though we aren't ashamed to admit there are going to be times when we're under pressure because of the quality we're up against."
"I wasn't surprised to see my lads come back (at Spurs)," he added. "Even the goal we conceded, it wasn't one that was crafted and we weren't really opened up. The attitude of the boys, which didn't surprise me either, was hugely pleasing."