Chris Wilder: Sheffield United players can make things 'interesting' in Premier League survival race, just don't try to 'kid and fool' me
On his second coming in the dug-out at Bramall Lane, the Sheffield United manager saw his side produce the type of performance against Liverpool which was much more closely associated with successful Blades’ sides of yore.
It was intense and wholly committed, even if it did not yield anything by way of points against the title-chasing Reds in a 2-0 loss.
Wilder spoke beforehand about his players earning the trust of fans again after two awful performances against Burnley and Bournemouth.
As a public relations exercise, this was a welcome step, more especially after just one training session under him.
It represented a starting point, but that alone. United now face Brentford on Saturday, less than 72 hours after playing on Wednesday. It’s not free hit this time.
It’s a quick turnaround, but Wilder has never been one to tolerate excuses and a failure to display the same qualities as in midweek won’t wash with him.
Expect senior players who know him well to reinforce that message.
Wilder said: "Don't kid and fool me that this is what we are all about (all the time). Because I will suss it out straightaway.
"They were great with everything we have asked to do (before), but don't fool me and think that's a one-off ‘manager bounce’ and me going back here and all that.
"It's a quick turnaround and they put an incredible amount of effort into that game.
"The squad is not at its strongest and we've got senior players in there before to remind them of what it means and feels to play for this club - the likes of (Oli) McBurnie, (John) Egan and (George) Baldock and they are big players we are missing. Tom Davies as well.”
Plenty of players received ticks in the box on the night, including the likes of Andre Brooks, Will Osula and Vinicius Souza, with several others not far behind.
The trick is reproducing on a consistent basis.
Wilder continued: "The narrative from everybody - and I totally get it - is that we're done and dusted.
"I've not got a crystal ball in terms of what is going to happen, but if the players produce those types of performances, it's going to make it interesting. That's the aim and key, to find that consistency.
"The reaction of the supporters told the story of the night at the end. It was a proper Sheffield United performance.”