Why Sheffield United tweaked their training regime ahead of Aston Villa's visit

Sheffield United made a series of changes to their usual training regime as they prepared for this weekend’s meeting with Aston Villa, as manager Chris Wilder and his coaching staff attempted to guard against burn-out.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 6:14 pm
Oliver Norwood is available for selection against Aston Villa, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has confirmed: James Wilson/Sportimage

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s fixture, United’s third Premier League outing in the space of 10 days, Wilder confirmed his squad were given 48 hours off following their win over Norwich City before preparations for Villa’s visit began in earnest. Attributing United’s slow start at Carrow Road to the fact they had faced Newcastle 72 hours earlier, Wilder said: “There were a few tired bodies on Sunday. People put in a good shift. We felt a bit sorry for ourselves to begin with and that was a lesson for us.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Credit to the opposition, they started more brightly. But we didn’t want to let the game slip and the lads didn’t let it slip. The recovery in this division is vital. We gave them a couple of days off and then it was back in,” he added. “Full tilt, as usual, on Thursday and Friday.”

United climbed to eighth after strikes from Enda Stevens and George Baldock saw them come from a goal behind in Norfolk to claim all three points. Wilder’s decision to substitute Oliver Norwood during that match led to speculation the midfielder could have been carrying on injury. But, praising the performance of Norwood’s replacement Mo Besic, Wilder said the switch had been prompted by fears Norwood could be dismissed after being cautioned earlier in the game. “Mo has given me a selection headache,” Wilder said. “And I’m delighted. It’s been difficult for some of the lads, like him, Ravel (Morrison), Jags (Phil Jagielka) and Ben (Osborn).”