Bournemouth v Sheffield United: Chris Wilder has to take care as he looks to rebuild confidence whilst addressing issues

Bournemouth v Sheffield UnitedPart of a modern football manager's job – especially in the world’s most-watched league – is sending out the right messages in the media as well as the dressing room.

"I should be up for an Oscar at times," says Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, "although I'm not sure I'll win that."

He might be good at Monopoly, though, the amount of things he has had to "own" lately.

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The lifelong Blade is known for being blunt but things have been so bad lately he has had to be more careful in his comments.

No one wants a Yorkshireman to call a spade a sharp-edged, long-handled digging implement but Wilder perhaps could not say everything he wanted about Monday's pathetic 6-0 loss to Arsenal in public and expect a much-needed response at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Oliver Norwood's 16th-minute substitution has been explained and captain Anel Ahmedhodzic, substituted in the second half, was saved from going under the bus in Thursday’s pre-match press conference.

The long-term planning at Bramall Lane stepped up this week with Paul Mitchell's departure as head of recruitment and the announcement of plans for a new training ground but rebuilding confidence whilst addressing glaring problems has to take centre stage for Wilder.

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"There's times when you want to chuck teacups about but you have to be balanced," he explains. "That's the way it is. I'd like it not to be but you have to read the room, read the situation, read the occasion and where the players are. They need help.

FRAGILE: Sheffield United's shell-shocked players in the 6-0 defeat to ArsenalFRAGILE: Sheffield United's shell-shocked players in the 6-0 defeat to Arsenal
FRAGILE: Sheffield United's shell-shocked players in the 6-0 defeat to Arsenal

"But I'm not going to mug myself off by saying it was great. You're live on Sky on a Monday night, everyone in the world watching, and the performance is the performance.

"You have to analyse that and talk about it (to the media) pretty quickly, pretty emotionally, after games so I'm not chucking anybody under the bus, it is what it is for everybody to see – our supporters, other supporters, so-called pundits, owners.

"You have to be honest, which I've always been with my assessment of my team, whether it's good or bad.

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BALANCING ACT: Sheffield United manager Chris WilderBALANCING ACT: Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder
BALANCING ACT: Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

"But we have to try and help the players. We have to deal with the start, with the goals, the manner of the goals, looking at my team being a passive team at the moment when these things are happening."

Four of perhaps this season’s five worst losses – Newcastle United, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Arsenal – were at home where even in Monday's second half supporters tried to be just that. Winning at Luton Town and battling at Molineux showed players capable of more.

"It's not a passive team in general because it wasn't at Luton, it wasn't at Villa and it wasn't against West Ham and Liverpool but I've got to say it has been in the last 20 minutes against Brighton, it was in the first 20 minutes against Villa and it certainly was for the first half an hour against Arsenal,” concedes Wilder.

"A phrase people talk about now is you have to own that. Deal with the situation, deal with the truth, then quickly move on for us to be positive about getting a performance right on Saturday."

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FUTURE LEADER? Sheffield United midfielder Andre Brooks (right)FUTURE LEADER? Sheffield United midfielder Andre Brooks (right)
FUTURE LEADER? Sheffield United midfielder Andre Brooks (right)

Brittleness that too often sees one goal follow another – four in no time against Newcastle and Arsenal – is at odds with what Wilder built in his first spell, still visible in last season's tough times.

"Time makes it difficult to change, I haven't really got that ability at the moment to get it to what I want to look like," argues Wilder.

"Maybe that's the reason it does go from one to two to three pretty quickly but people have to grow up. There has to be new leaders, whether they're boys who have been pretty quiet or the likes of a (Andre) Brooks or an (Oliver) Arblaster who find it natural to organise and pull people about and want to get on the ball.

"It's a little bit bereft of those characters but some will come through, some will fall by the wayside and some will come into the building when we have that opportunity.”

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Whilst Norwood's substitution was transparently tactical to switch to a back five – "players haven’t got to be precious" – Ahmedhodzic’s looked a slap in the face for the man who epitomised the fight at Wolves and lack of it against Arsenal.

Wilder says otherwise.

"He had a tight hamstring," he explains. “It’s been an issue over a number of weeks and we’ve had to modify his training. We felt the game had gone so there was no point putting him in a worse position.

“I don’t think it’s why we’re getting spanked by Arsenal and Villa – because Anel’s captain. I thought he was outstanding at Wolves and at Luton.

“When things are going well, people will say decent things about you and maybe when they’re not, as captain, he has to take that responsibility on board.”

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