Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder on his team's statement of intent
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, believes his players have shown they possess the strength of character required to claw themselves towards Premier League safety by answering questions about their heart and desire ahead of the Boxing Day game against Everton.
United will enter the meeting with Carlo Ancelotti’s side five points adrift at the bottom of the table after losing all but two of their outings in the competition this term.
Despite acknowledging the size of the challenge facing his team as they prepare to continue their battle for survival, Wilder described their last two performances - against Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion - as statements of intent.
“The question, about whether we can do it, will be asked of us of course,” he told The Star. “All we can do is try and show what we’re about, show that we’ve got the right mindset and the fight, and then go from there.
“I know what these lads are all about. I know they’re ready to give everything they’ve got, because they’ve shown that time and time again over the past few years. That should never be in doubt but it will be doubted by some. So we’ve got to react, and I think we’ve done that.”
After being labelled as “passive” by Wilder en route to a 3-0 defeat at Southampton, United travelled to Albion over the weekend on the back of a battling display against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, which saw them take the lead before eventually succumbing 3-2. Reduced to 10 men during the first-half at the Amex Stadium - John Lundstram being shown a straight red card for a challenge on Joel Veltman - United again went in front before conceding a late equaliser.
“We are disappointed that we’ve only taken a point from our last two (games) and I think that says something about how the boys have responded,” Wilder said. “They showed they are ready to react and, come what may, put in a certain manner of performance.
“It was a small step in the right direction. Not as big as we would have liked or as big as I thought they deserved, because of what they put in. The thing we have to do now is try and build on that.”