CHRIS WILDER is challenging his Sheffield United players to deliver a stirring reaction in Friday night’s televised home Championship encounter with Bristol City – after equalling their longest winless run of 2017.
The fourth-placed Blades suffered a rare collective off-day in Saturday’s 3-1 Championship loss at Millwall, with Wilder furious at his side’s dropping of standards at the New Den as their sequence without a league victory extended to three games.
If Wilder’s troops fail to pick up three points tomorrow, it will equal the longest league sequence without a win of his Bramall Lane tenure, with the Blades failing to triumph in the first four League One matches of his reign in August 2016.
Since then, United have cultivated an outstanding winning mentality, triumphing in 42 out of 59 league matches from August 27, 2016 to the recent 5-4 home loss to Fulham on November 21.
And Wilder remains confident that his players will channel the hurt of recent events – and specifically that of last weekend – into a positive response against their fellow high-fliers.
The Blades manager, who let his players know what he thought about Saturday’s performance in a near 45-minute long inquest in a locked away dressing room at Millwall, said: “The players have historically shown a reaction. Knowing what they are about, they will have been disappointed.
“They will have been disappointed with what happened because I know the characters that they are.
“They are not just getting on the bus and getting off it not bothered. Because if they were, they would not have had the results they have.”
Saturday represented one of the rare occasions when Wilder felt compelled to read the riot act to his players over the past 16 months.
While it is self-evident that he will not tolerate a replication of that performance, equally he believes that the players’ own high standards will also demand that it is very much a one-off.
They are not just getting on the bus and getting off it not bothered. Because if they were, they would not have had the results they have.Sheffield United boss, Chris Wilder
He added: “I have said it. Now we move on and no grudges held. It was not a disastrous performance where loads of things went wrong. It is just us raising the bar and Millwall being a notoriously tough team at home against the big boys.
“The players know where we are (at), where they have set their standards and raised their games on from last year. We just want to play well and show people what we are about.”