Defiant Chris Wilder embraces the challenge at Sheffield United

DAVID MOYES has told Chris Wilder the only way to get his team out of Premier League relegation trouble is to ‘hire a jumbo jet and take his players to Miami’.
Left to ponder: Sheffield Uniteds Chris Wilder during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane. Picture: Simon Bellis/SportimageLeft to ponder: Sheffield Uniteds Chris Wilder during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Left to ponder: Sheffield Uniteds Chris Wilder during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The Sheffield United manager revealed that nugget from his conversation with his West Ham counterpart yesterday afternoon, in the wake of Moyes’s men inflicting an eighth Premier League defeat on Wilder’s Blades from nine games this season.

United are rooted to the foot of the table, their winless streak in England’s top flight now at 12 games stretching back to the end of last season.

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They finished ninth last term, with very little from the way they bravely acquitted themselves in that first season back pointing to the dramatic collapse in fortunes that would follow.

Wilder remained bullish yesterday about the prospects of keeping his job – “The journey we’ve had makes me think that question shouldn’t be asked, but I understand why it does get asked” – and the conversation he had with Moyes strengthened his belief that his side are not doing a whole lot wrong. “David said the only thing you can do is hire a jumbo jet and take all the players to Miami,” said Wilder, after Sebastien Haller settled the game in West Ham’s favour with a rasping drive just short of the hour.

“He said ‘don’t look at it too tactically, too deeply, the players are giving you everything’.

“A trip to Miami might be the answer.”

Wilder conceded that might be a stretch this week even with Premier League revenue streams, but the sentiment was noted.

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United certainly need to find something this week ahead of a trip to fellow winless side West Bromwich Albion next Saturday, a game that already has the hallmarks of a relegation six-pointer.

“When it comes down to not a lot being wrong with a team, maybe a trip to clear the heads a little bit isn’t the worst idea,” said Wilder.

“The conversation with David gives me a lot of belief in what we’re doing, that we’re not a million miles off.

“The team is together, they’re having a go. The Premier League is cut throat and we’re just falling a little short at the moment.

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“I’m okay with today’s performance, we’re just lacking a little bit of quality that comes with belief and confidence.

“I thought our attitude to the game was good, the start was good, but it’s fine margins that decide games. They’ve found a goal and we haven’t. It comes down to a bit of belief.

“That comes with the territory. It was a scruffy result but I don’t think people would have been incredibly surprised if it had have been a 1-0 victory to Sheffield United.

“The game wasn’t decided on systems, it was decided on quality.

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“We’re not ever going to beat anyone in this division three or four nil. They’re always going to be tight games.

“We had a perfect storm last year with people trying to assess how we played, the Bramall Lane crowd, a clean bill of health, scoring in big moments.

“The performance against West Ham was not much different to what it was last year.”

And yet the result leaves them at the foot of the table, with the questions now getting repeatedly asked about the manager’s position.

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The 53-year-old has a proud record of never being sacked in two decades of management and is confident he can turn the tide at his beloved Blades.

“In terms of challenge it’s the next big challenge,” he said.

“Getting a team out at Halifax 20 years ago was a challenge.

“It was a challenge to keep Northampton up when players weren’t getting paid.

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“There’s always challenges in front of you and we look forward to it and embrace it.

“Do you get the white flag out or do you keep battling away?”

There’s no doubting how Wilder will approach it.

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