Why Chris Wilder says Sheffield United can't afford to become 'comfortable' as they look to consolidate in Premier League

Chris Wilder is a big admirer of Sean Dyche and Burnley: CLIVE BRUNSKILL/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesChris Wilder is a big admirer of Sean Dyche and Burnley: CLIVE BRUNSKILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Chris Wilder is a big admirer of Sean Dyche and Burnley: CLIVE BRUNSKILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Manager Chris Wilder says that Sheffield United cannot afford to become "comfortable" if they are to consolidate their place in the Premier League from next season onwards.

Wilder and his players defied pre-season predictions of an instant return to the Championship to ultimately finish ninth in the top-flight, and take their pursuit of European football to the penultimate game of a memorable campaign.

But they will have to go again with a shortened off-season break caused by the Covid-19 crisis, with the new Premier League season scheduled to begin on September 12.

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Wilder looks to Burnley as a model to emulate, with Sean Dyche's side now an established Premier League club after their promotion in 2016.

And the United manager said: "Establishing ourselves in the Premier League is key. I've talked long and hard about Burnley, four or five years in the Premier League is a fabulous achievement and they keep on improving.

"But the mentality is the same, which is key for me. I have hammered that home and will continue to hammer that home.

"Players and clubs and managers do become comfortable, and that's when everyone suffers and gets hurt. We have an educated and realistic fanbase, that understands where we are as a football club - and that we have to bridge the gap on a lot of fronts."

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United will be joined in the Premier League by Leeds and West Brom next season, while Fulham and Brentford face-off in the Championship play-off final on Tuesday evening.

"We're not a comfortable club and I'm not a comfortable manager," Wilder added.

"Players have to go and achieve. The season doesn't become any easier because it's our second in the Premier League; the challenges will be the same, if not tougher, to show the consistency we have done.

"You don't get extra points because we finished eighth. It's a clean slate and there are some quality teams that have been promoted. Teams are going to improve and we've got to improve as well, and make sure we don't stand still in every aspect of the game."

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