Sheffield United: Why winning ugly is over-rated

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

Despite suggestions to the contrary, Chris Wilder has no desire to see his team master the art of winning ugly or learn to grind their way through games.

Instead, as Sheffield United prepare for this weekend's match at Reading, the visitors' manager is demanding expansive football and a positive result.

Chris Wilder prefers to play well: David Klein/Sportimage

Chris Wilder prefers to play well: David Klein/Sportimage

United's durability has come under the scrutiny in recent weeks, with some critics claiming they must become more adept at taking points when they are playing badly or risk undermining the club's promotion push.

Although his comments immediately after United conceded a last gasp equaliser at Rotherham and Saturday's defeat by Leeds suggested that Wilder is in agreement, he said: "To be honest, I'm not one of these people who seem to think the sign of a good side is one that plays badly and wins. For me, playing badly is just the sign of a struggling side.

"Good sides play well and win. That's what they do. It really is as simple as that."

United travel to the Madejski Stadium sixth in the Championship table but having won just once in five outings. Rather than a lack of grit, Wilder attributes that run to a series of individual errors; not tactical weakness or poor form.

Chris Wilder thinks winning ugly is over-rated

Chris Wilder thinks winning ugly is over-rated

"The reason I'm not bothered about being good at playing badly, if you get my drift, is because you can't keep that going for long and expect to get points," he said. "You might pick up the odd result, and everybody says that's a sign you've got what it takes.

“But if you keep playing badly, then sooner or later it catches up with you. There's no longevity in that."