Chris Wilder and Sheffield United out to thwart ‘box-office’ Jose Mourinho

JOSE MOURINHO may be viewed as the arch-pragmatist by many in football circles, but Sheffield United chief Chris Wilder still regards him as his favourite manager operating in the Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho.

Sentiment will be put to one side at Bramall Lane tomorrow when Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur arrive – with memories of their 3-1 loss at S2 in July likely to be in the visitors’ thoughts.

The need for points for both is self-evident. For top-four candidates Spurs, it is about avoiding a costly replication of dropping points to sides in the bottom half of the Premier League table after drawing with Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, Wolves and most recently, Fulham.

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Contrastingly, it is all about keeping the pressure on the side immediately above them in West Brom, as a first port of call for the bottom-placed Blades, who won their first league game of the season at the 18th time of asking on Tuesday evening against Newcastle. But whatever happens, the respect between Wilder and Mourinho will endure.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (Picture: PA)

Wilder, graciously congratulated by Mourinho during a live post-match interview after the side’s game in the summer, said: “We need another big performance to get another good result. I have got an incredible amount of respect for the manager.

“He is my favourite current manager in the Premier League among a load of really fabulous ones. I really like him. I know he splits opinion, but he is an incredible guy who is ‘box-office’ and most importantly, he is a winner.”

Wilder caught up with Mourinho and his fellow top-flight bosses at a Premier League managers meeting on Friday afternoon where one of the topics for discussion centred on the topical issue of goal celebrations from players in the wake of the Premier League urging players and staff to avoid “unnecessary contact” in the light of a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Wilder, who has apologised for ‘insensitive’ comments he felt he made regarding his side’s goal celebrations immediately after the Blades’ midweek win, said: “It is important we do take things on board and do adapt and change.”

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