Chris Wilder says Sheffield United 'can't pass from A to B' in 1-0 defeat to Manchester City

On the face of it, a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City was a creditable result for a side at the wrong end of the table, but manager Chris Wilder was scathing about Sheffield United afterwards.

Wilder criticised his side's poor passing in their seventh winless match of the Premier League season. Their completion rate was 77.5 per cent to Manchester City's 87.2 per cent.

“You have to play at the top of your ability to get anything against Manchester City and Liverpool (his side's last two opponents) and when you turn the ball over as we did, good players keep it away from you and counter-attack and that is what they did," he argued.

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“When you don’t win games, people talk about tactics and shapes, but when you can’t pass from A to B, good players keep the ball away from you.”

UNHAPPY: Sheffield United manager Chris WilderUNHAPPY: Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder
UNHAPPY: Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

Aaron Ramsdale was kept busy by City, who opened the scoring through boyhood Sheffield United fan and former player Kyle Walker, making his 100th appearance for his current club. Pep Guardiola's side had complete control of the first half-hour, having 78 per cent of the ball, but the Blades were able to make the game more even thereafter, and missed a glorious chance to equalise through substitute John Lundstram after 70 minutes.

“You have to take your opportunities when they come because you are not going to dominate possession,” said Wilder. “My disappointment is we didn’t do enough to put them on the back foot and affect the result.

“It wasn't really that (missed chance by Lundstram that annoyed me), it was the other bits, unopposed where it was our times to play and we gave it away really cheaply. They moved us around the pitch. Sometimes it is not enough to be an aggressive, competitive side that has a go. You have got to show more of that to stay in this division.

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“I don’t want plaudits, we want points on the board. In every game, press play because I am saying exactly the same thing.

“To be in the game is not enough to get points.

“From a motivational point of view, I don’t have to hit them with that stick, (but) we have to be better with the ball. If people think we can open up to Manchester City they haven’t got a clue about football. They have world-class players and it will be 3-, 4-, 5-0. They are one of the top sides at pressing you in your defensive third so we can’t roll it out from the back.

“When we have an opportunity to play we have to show so much more quality than we did

“Raheem Sterling was outstanding in his movement, they countered across the pitch. Kyle Walker produced a fabulous finish.”

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Victorious manager Guardiola was more complimentary about the Blades, who have one point from their first eight games.

“Sheffield United are so strong in some areas – stronger than us,” he said. “We played really well in the first half and created a lot of chances, (but) we struggled with scoring goals.

“When you start the second half at 1-0 anything can happen, especially with them being so good at second balls and having the patience for an extra pass.

“They are really good with crosses, they had one clear chance in 90 minutes (Lundstram's), so that is good for us in terms of how we defend but unfortunately when we arrived in the final third we are not as clinical as we were before.

“Nine goals in six games is not enough.”

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