Chris Wilder says it does not get any better than seeing his Sheffield United side win at local rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
Wilder, who is a lifelong Blade, celebrated his 50th birthday on Saturday and was treated to the best possible present as his side trounced the Owls 4-2 in their own backyard in the first Steel City derby since 2012.
It was a thoroughly deserved three points for the Blades, who won it through goals from John Fleck, Leon Clarke (2) and Mark Duffy and celebrated a first win at Hillsborough in 11 years.
I never slept a wink for about seven days. It means everything today. It’s the proudest moment of my career. To represent the club and to get the result is brilliant. We have had to swallow quite a lot over the last six years.Chris Wilder
Wilder said: “I don’t think it gets any better. This was everything today for both clubs. To lead my team out in the fantastic atmosphere was a special experience and to cap it off with a wonderful performance throughout is great.
“I think we won it pretty comfortably and it was special for everyone at our football club. I thought we were a dangerous team, we produced a top class performance.
“I don’t think you can put it into words. We have had it rammed down our throats over the last six years so it’s nice to give the supporters something back.
“I never slept a wink for about seven days. It means everything today. It’s the proudest moment of my career. To represent the club and to get the result is brilliant. We have had to swallow quite a lot over the last six years.
“It’s a great day for us and we are going to enjoy it.”
When Wilder was blowing the candles out on his cake on Saturday night he could not have even wished for a start as good as his side enjoyed as they led 2-0 after 15 minutes through Fleck’s free-kick and cool finish from Clarke.
The Owls were well below their best but found a way back into it through Gary Hooper and Lucas Joao and looked primed to go on and win it.
However, Duffy immediately restored the Blades’ lead and Clarke, against his former club, put the finishing touches on a a memorable afternoon.
Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal said his side were derailed by their poor start, but accepts ultimate responsibility.
“It was a game with very high emotions and in this kind of environment if you start losing after two minutes it makes us more nervous,” he said.
“We were nervous because of their early goal and we did mistakes that we don’t usually do. The beginning of the game gave us instability.
“At 2-2 I thought most of the people in the stadium and watching on television thought we would win but Sheffield United got the goal. It was very hard for us. We never usually make these mistakes.
“The mistakes that we did, it is my responsibility. I want all the pressure on me, not on the players.
“I want my players to stay away from the pressure. We lose together and I take maximum responsibility.”