Sheffield United: What does Bramall Lane’s commander-in-chief have in common with Paul Clement?

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: David Klein/Sportimage
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: David Klein/Sportimage

One cut his coaching teeth at Chelsea before spells with Paris St Germain, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

The other's first job was at Alfreton Town which, after winning the Northern Counties East League Premier Division title, led to jobs at Halifax, Oxford, Northampton and now Bramall Lane.

Reading Manager Paul Clement: Mark Kerton/PA Wire.

Reading Manager Paul Clement: Mark Kerton/PA Wire.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder and Paul Clement, his counterpart at Reading, might boast little in common other than their chosen profession. But, as the two clubs prepare to meet at the Madejski Stadium this weekend, they are both insistent that their respective team's performances are not being reflected by recent results.

"If we keep playing well, which by and large I believe we are doing, then we'll be okay," Wilder, whose side have taken four points from a possible nine since the international break, said. "That's the key for me, how we are playing, because no matter what anyone else might tell you, if you're not doing well then you'll find it bloody difficult."

Although United's returns are far from catastrophic - they remain sixth in the Championship table - Wilder's team must register an improvement to consolidate their position over the crucial Christmas period. Describing the festive schedule as an opportunity to "put yourself in there, establish something to build on", Wilder also knows that remaining in promotion contention will make United a much more attractive destination when the transfer window reopens next month.

Clement would gladly swap positions with Wilder, given Reading'a predicament at the opposite end of the table.

Chris Wilder believes his team are playing well: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder believes his team are playing well: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

But the 46-year-old, who worked alongside Carlo Ancelotti at the Parc de Princes, Olympic Stadium and Santiago Bernabéu, is of the same belief as his counterpart when it comes to the correlation between technique and success.

“If you continue to play well results will follow and I’m convinced of that," Clement, whose team have won only four times this term, said. "That will be the objective.

"I don’t think like the media think. I don’t go home and say ‘we’ve won four out of 20’. I don’t say it to the players or (sporting director) Gianluca Nani, I never mention that.

"We work on trying to improve what’s under our control and sooner or later people will be saying to me that we’ve won the last five or six."