Sheffield United: ‘I’ll never ask my players to con a referee’ says Chris Wilder

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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder will never ask his players to try and deceive referees, despite claiming their sportsmanship has gone unrecognised in recent weeks.

Wilder cited one incident during Friday’s defeat by Bristol City, moments before Aden Flint scored a 91st minute winner, to highlight his point ahead of this weekend’s visit to Preston North End.

“Jack (O’Connell) took a high boot and some people will say he should have made more of it,” Wilder said. “That he should have started rolling about and clutching his face because the match just carried on.

“I’m not going to deny it annoyed me, when he nearly had his head kicked off. But I don’t want my players to do that, to go in for all those theatrics, because they’re a committed and honest bunch.

“It’s not something I want to see in the game and so we aren’t going to go in for it.”

Despite seeing John Fleck dismissed earlier in the game - the midfielder serves the first of a three match ban at Deepdale - Wilder dismissed claims the 26-year-old’s challenge on Korey Smith undermines his argument.

“I want players to tackle because that’s part of the game,” he said. “There was a tackle in the Birmingham City versus Wolves game not so long back; that’s exactly what we want.

“We need to be careful it doesn’t go over the line and I don’t think John did. It was a committed tackle but he took the ball and didn’t dangle his leg high. In my day, that wouldn’t even have been a booking.”

“We’ve had it done to us, all of that rolling about business, in the past and yes, it’s frustrating,” Wilder added. “But it’s not something I’m ever going to ask my lads to do. Quite the opposite in fact.

“We take a great deal of pride in the fact that we play hard but fair, which is the way it should be, the way fans want to see. And that’s something we are going to make sure continues. We won’t be trying to con anybody, it’s not how we do things here. You can’t complain about it and then start doing it yourself can you.”