Chris Wilder: Of course Sheffield United will get 40 points, but there will be no let-up when we do

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Chris Wilder says Sheffield United will get to the magical 40-point mark this season, but he is refusing to look beyond that, except to insist that there will be no letting up from his players.

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Chris Wilder has spoken of his admiration for Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe

Chris Wilder has spoken of his admiration for Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe

Even though increasingly teams stay in the Premier League without it, managers still traditionally look to 40 points as the target for avoiding relegation. The Blades currently have 36, enough to stay up for all but one of the last seven seasons, and are in sixth, which is usually enough to qualify for the Europa League.

Talk of Europe will not wash with manager Wilder, though.

“We'll push for the next three points and that’s it,” he said, when asked if an ambitious transfer window was a sign that the Blades are pushing for Europe. “We'll look at the end of the season and where it gets us, I said it last year, and that's the way it’s going to be

“I'm not going to mug you off, for a newly promoted side, 40 has always been a big number for everyone, and I should imagine when we do get there, we can plan.

“It’d be disrespectful to say anything other than we look likely to get those points, of course we will because of our performances and our attitude, but it’s always about next three points.

“Fans don’t want to see take foot off gas, they pay their hard-earned money and when you pull that shirt on, they expect. And so do I.

“Whether it’s now, 10 games to go or the last day, it’ll be full tilt to go right to the end.”
The Blades' next test is a visit from a Bournemouth side who have come out of a slump in form.

Like Sheffield United, they have come up through the divisions – the clubs met in League One in 2012 – and they have a highly-rated English manager. Wilder is surprised Eddie Howe has not been rewarded with a job at a club with even more resources.

“I'm surprised he’s not managed an elite club, you can only do what you do and win football matches,” he said. “Look at what he’s done with Bournemouth, almost going out the Football League and to be a Premier League club in a short period of time is an incredible achievement and then to stay in division.

“They're not one of biggest clubs in the Premier League but they work with young players and create a team , I am surprised, but for me he's an outstanding manager season in, season out, regardless of what’s happened this season.

“How can you get performance and consistency when your best players are consistently injured? It can’t happen.

“We’ve had a little bit of luck on our side in terms of injuries, majority of our main players been fit for most of campaign. But when they’re not available it becomes a bit of a struggle. But I don’t need to tell Eddie that.

“They've picked up a couple of great results recently. The pressure was on when they lost to Watford but again they showed what they’re about with two really good home results.

“They've done it season in, season out. They’ll have had periods losing three, four, five games on the bounce. We talked about that at start of season and it can happen. We have to be mindful of it.

“You have to come out of it and they have with good performances and results which will give them good heart ahead of Sunday.”

Sheffield United's only major injury recently has been to David McGoldrick, who is now back in training, but with fellow centre-forward Rchairo Zivkovic, like fellow loan signing Panagiotis Retsos, in contention for selection, he may not be guaranteed a place.

“He's been out on the grass this week,” Wilder said. “With Richario and Luke Freeman putting in strong performances, got some good options at top of pitch, the skipper (Billy Sharp) getting starts, (Lys) Mousset's introduction on Saturday was important for us and Oli McBurnie led the line superbly, we have as many as possible to choose from and the hard part comes when trying to pick a team.

“Everyone is fit and raring to go, but Bournemouth have been to bigger and better places than us so they will fancy getting something.”