Sheffield United: What does Chris Wilder think about the ‘Spygate’ scandal involving Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United and Derby County? 

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Whatever his true thoughts on a matter threatening to engulf English football, Chris Wilder has refused to provide Leeds with any extra incentive in their push for Premier League status by dismissing the furore surrounding 'Spygate'.

Marcelo Bielsa, Wilder's counterpart at Elland Road, admitted sending a member of staff to secretly observe a Derby County training session ahead of Friday's meeting between the two clubs. The incident, which saw police being called to Moor Farm, has led to calls for Bielsa and his employers to be punished, with former Aston Villa chief executive Keith Wyness insisting over the weekend that a three point penalty must be imposed upon the Argentine's squad.

After watching his second-placed side move to within four points of the Championship leaders following a 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers, Wilder was asked if he suspected Sheffield United's privacy had been invaded before Leeds' visit to Bramall Lane earlier this season. His response, despite being surprisingly succinct, demonstrated the 51-year-old has an acute understanding of the psychological impact any perceived criticism could have upon Bielsa and his players.

"It’s been over exaggerated," Wilder, whose side visits South Yorkshire in March, said. "It’s not something that we would do but I think the manager has been clever because the chant about Leeds United ('We all hate Leeds') will get a little bit louder now and they will love that siege mentality. 

"You saw in their performance (against Derby), that it was them against the world, and I thought they were outstanding with it."

Speaking after his Rangers team succumbed to David McGoldrick's first-half goal, Steve McClaren revealed he expected United to secure at least a play-off place during the remaining 19 games of the season.

"He’s a very experienced and successful manager who has managed at the highest level," Wilder responded. "We just go about our business and, of course, it’s great that people are saying good things about you but you can’t do anything about the league position you just carry on doing what you are doing. 

"We are looking to improve and get better and are not looking to take a step back. We want to enjoy the situation and enjoy the challenge of winning games in this division. 

"You have seen the supporters and the players, and they look as though they are enjoying everything."

Repaying the compliment, Wilder added: ""It was a tough game, they are on a good run of form. 

"No result it given to you in the Championship. You have to work hard and overcome. But I think the right result was the one that happened. It wasn't free-flowing, but it's not always going to be chance after chance after chance."