Chris Wilder believes some of Sheffield United’s rivals could crack under pressure as they battle for a place in the Championship play-offs.
United will move to within two points of sixth-placed Middlesbrough with nine matches remaining if they beat Burton Albion at Bramall Lane tomorrow night.
Although Wilder accepts his own side’s season has reached a crossroads - “This is a massive week for us, starting right now” - the United manager insisted: “Pressure, yet again, shifts onto the teams that have to get out of the division.
“Every week, we hear incredible reports from teams saying ‘we’ve got to go up this year.’ There’s about 10 of them. There’s going to be seven disappointed isn’t there? At least seven. You hear them saying ‘we’ve spent this and we’ve spent that. We have to do it or heads will roll.’ We’re relaxed.”
Wilder, who led United to promotion during his first season at the helm, added: “We were last year as well. The club wouldn’t have disintegrated but another year in League One would have been disastrous.”
United, who have played a game less than five of the eight clubs above them in the rankings, will stage their second home fixture in the space of five days when Nottingham Forest visit South Yorkshire this weekend.
“We’re just not really thinking about league positions at the end of the season,” Wilder said. “We’re just thinking about getting points and being in the scrap going down the home straight which we are now. That’s the target.
“We’ll talk about what we’ve done at the end of the season, whether it’s been good or okay. At the moment, I think it’s been really good. Opposition managers tell us we’ve done great.”
“There’s no getting away from it, this is a big week for the football club,” he added. “We’ll only be closer in the mix if we pick up positive results in the next two games. It’s two home games on the bounce, the form has genuinely been good and the support has been right behind us.”