'This will only make us stronger' says Sheffield United boss as he reflects on his team's recent struggles
Sheffield United will emerge a stronger and more experienced team when they recover from their miserable start to the Premier League season, Chris Wilder has predicted, after insisting his players still have the stomach to win what threatens to be a gruelling battle for survival.
United are preparing to face Leicester City this weekend at the foot of the table, after losing nine and drawing one of their opening 10 games this term.
Although no English side has made as worse a start to a top-flight campaign since West Bromwich Albion 35 years ago - they were later relegated to the old Second Division - Wilder is convinced United can defy both the odds and their critics providing they learn the lessons of their recent poor run.
“Every experience you have, there’s no downside to any experience in football,” he said. “For me, it’s one you can learn from to improve you as a player and as a person. There’s loads more people having a tougher time than me at the moment, even though it’s not enjoyable. There’s loads more people, with everything that’s going on with Covid-19, having a tougher time than us full stop.
“I’ve got fire in my belly to turn it around and I see that from the players too. I see that from them every day in training and in the matches too.”
United’s troubles continued when they lost to fellow strugglers West Brom on Saturday night; missing a series of chances either side of Conor Gallagher’s match-winning goal.
“There’s things we can do better, we know that,” Wilder said. “We can’t keep letting ourselves down like that, because we created enough (opportunities) to win more than one game of football there and it’s something that’s been happening all the way through.
“But the fact we are creating them, and the fact we’ve been ‘in’ every game we’ve played so far barring one shows that we can do it and, if we can start sticking some of those away, that we can do what we set out to do which is stay in this division.”