SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder has warned his players that he will not tolerate them feeling sorry for themselves after criticising their mentality in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with relegation-threatened Millwall.
United paid the price for a nervy performance against the Lions, whose strong late pressure was rewarded with a leveller from Jake Cooper in the fifth minute of stoppage time – to cancel out substitute Gary Madine’s 51st-minute opener.
They have done fantastic, but we want the big prize and you cannot go backwards to grab that.Chris Wilder
It was the final act of a dramatic finale which also saw Millwall miss an 86th-minute penalty when Ben Marshall hit the woodwork – with home defender John Egan dismissed after handling Tom Elliott’s goalbound header.
On a major blow to their automatic promotion hopes, Wilder, whose side are three points behind second-placed Leeds United, said: “You do not get to where we are without having a good attitude and without being able to get off the canvas at times.
“If they want the big prize, it is there to be taken – by a player who shows a bit of magic or a team that wants to grab what is out there.
“If they want to feel sorry for themselves, we may as well just think ‘let us see who we get in the play-offs and go through that lottery.’ If they do feel sorry for themselves though, they will not pull a shirt on. They know what I am like.
“I am not bothered what they feel and what they think. I just told them what my thoughts were and it was not an open house.
“I think it would be someone quite brave to have taken me on 20 minutes ago (in the dressing room). They have done fantastic, but we want the big prize and you cannot go backwards to grab that.
“The thing I am struggling with is if the players thought that was the best way to play. I think it was a mindset more than anything. It was a decision from players not to get forward and run forward to get up the pitch.”
A difficult day was compounded by the sight of Billy Sharp and Chris Basham being substituted with hamstring issues, the pair being early doubts for the’ Easter programme, starting at home to Nottingham Forest on Friday.
Wilder added: “They are hamstring injuries and I do not know how serious they are. If you lose your captain and a good player, that is a concern, isn’t it?”