Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, angrily dismissed claims that changes to the starting eleven contributed to his team’s poor performance at Millwall.
Instead, he laid the blame for their defeat squarely at the attitude many of the visiting players displayed after accusing them of ignoring advice about how to combat the threat Neil Harris’ side posed.
“People will say changing the side (caused the result), absolute garbage,” Wilder said. “We’ve changed it and the team then has the responsibility to go out there and be an effective team. We weren’t effective. Effective is a word I’ve used a lot and that, possibly, tells you something.”
Richard Stearman and David Brooks, whose first-half strike drew United level after Lee Gregory’s opener, were both recalled for the visit to The Den as Wilder identified Steve Morison’s physicality as one of Millwall’s greatest strengths. Brooks owed his inclusion to suspicions that Harris’ team would also leave spaces the likes of both he and Mark Duffy could exploit whenever they charged forward.
Although those were borne-out - Duffy providing the assist for the youngster’s second goal of the season - United conceded twice more after the break to leave themselves fourth in the Championship table and without a win in three games.
Even Brooks endured a mixed afternoon, as he was cautioned for diving by referee Andrew Madeley before spurning a golden opportunity to score midway through the first period.
“I wanted to put Rich in because I wanted to play him against a more physical team, which they are,” Wilder continued. “Whether we made a mistake there or not, that will be up for debate.
"I wanted to give us the opportunity, when teams comes on to us, that there might be a little bit more space for the likes of David and Mark Duffy, which there was.
“Regardless of whether we’re top, where we are or where we possibly should be, which is Millwall’s position (17th), I’m not interested in league position. I don’t do consolidation.”