Chris Wilder insisted Sheffield United will stick to the principles which have seen them climb to the top of the table despite admitting the League One leaders are going through a “sticky patch.”
Wilder issued his pledge after watching Fleetwood Town condemn United to their second defeat in three games during last night’s rearranged fixture at Bramall Lane.
Goals from Conor McLaughlin and Devante Cole capped a miserable evening for Wilder’s side who, despite remaining seven points ahead of third-placed Bolton Wanderers, have now played three matches more than their rivals from Lancashire.
“I’m not going to change the way we play,” he said.
“We’ll keep on doing the things which have brought us to where we are because that’s the right thing to do.
“Yes, we’ve got to work through this period but I’m not just going to start smashing balls up to the centre-forwards, going long and playing hit and hope.
“We’ve had a dip but we’ll stay true to what we are. That’s vitally important.”
“We’re hurting, the players are in there (the dressing room) hurting but they’ve got too much character not to turn it around,” Wilder added.
“Uneducated people might accuse them of giving up out there but, although quite a few of the lads were below their usual quality, they didn’t turn it in.
“They kept on going, kept on plugging away and that, even though the performance was disappointing, told me a lot about them.
“Credit to Fleetwood, they defended well, but that (result) was down to us. I didn’t see us getting carved apart.”
United, who unveiled new signings James Hanson and Jay O’Shea before kick-off, fell behind when Conor McLaughlin pounced on Bobby Grant’s miscued first-half shot before Devante Cole capitalised on a defensive error after the break.
Referencing United’s poor start to the season - they failed to win any of their first four outings following his appointment in May - Wilder added: “That was pressure, this isn’t pressure now. Keith Hill (the Rochdale manager) commented earlier this season that it’s either agony or ecstasy here.
“A few weeks ago, were were going to romp the league by 15 points.
“Now, and I know this great club pretty well I like to think, you’ll hear people saying everything has gone wrong.
“There’s plenty of football to be played and, even though we’re going through a sticky patch, we’ll come through it. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.”