Sheffield United: The post-match ritual Chris Wilder performs after every single game

Sheffield United players leave the pitch following the defeat at Swansea City: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sheffield United players leave the pitch following the defeat at Swansea City: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

After every single match, whether Sheffield United win, lose or draw, Chris Wilder performs a dressing room ritual which dictates his approach to the post-game interviews.

Before he utters a word, as they come to terms with the scoreline and how it effects the race for Premier League football, the 51-year-old looks all of his players straight in the eye and studies their demeanor.

If he likes what he sees, Wilder adopts an upbeat stance under questioning from the media. If not, then United's manager positively encourages criticism from journalists. The result, journalists have discovered on several occasions, is not always the best barometer of his mood.

The body language of United's squad following their defeat by Swansea explains, as he prepares for Saturday's showdown with Norwich City, why Wilder is positive about its prospects at Carrow Road.

"Those boys came off the pitch absolutely knackered," he said. "When you looked at their faces, when you saw them close up, you could see they had given absolutely everything.

"So long as you go out of the front door, so long as the overall attitude is good, then the overall picture is good too."

Chris Wilder: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

United's visit to Norfolk, which pits them against Daniel Farke's second-placed team, is of critical importance to both clubs despite coming four months before the end of the Championship season. After West Bromwich Albion replaced them in third following Monday's victory over Bolton Wanderers, Wilder's side know a win will see them climb to second and potentially see them finish the weekend only a point behind leaders Leeds.

Analysing events at the Liberty Stadium, where an Oliver McBurnie goal just past the hour mark proved enough to decide the fixture, Wilder insisted United should be encouraged by their performance in South Wales. Even though he identified several areas where they can improve.

"The boys were dominating a really good team that was changing its shape all the time," Wilder said. "For the most part, the lads were coping with it. 

"I believe, and I don't mean this disrespectfully, that it was settled by us rather than by them. There were four aspects to what happened; we started well but didn't get a goal, got a little bit sloppy before they got their goal, then they did cause us a bit of a problem and after that it was backs against the wall. Their back, not our back."

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

"I thought we actually played better against Swansea than we did in a few other games recently," Wilder continued. "It was just that we didn't find that final pass or that little bit of quality. So the challenge now is to make sure we do on a more consistent basis."

United enter the meeting with City beaten only once in five league outings, while their opponents have won one and drawn three.

"We should be going in to every one confident," Wilder said. "Knowing that, on the basis of what we've shown, we are capable of deciding what happens. We have that capability, as we showed (against Swansea).

"So long as the lads are giving their all, which they do, then they have that in them. They've been giving their absolute maximum throughout. You can't be critical of that."