Chris Wilder believes it is vital top football clubs have an identity, and he is looking forward to testing Tottenham Hotspur out with Sheffield United’s brand of organised chaos.
The Blades have already visited Europa League winners Chelsea, Everton’s atmospheric Goodison Park and West Ham United’s bigger but more soulless London Stadium this season, but this afternoon’s Premier League game represents another step-up for the newly-promoted club.
In a sluggish 2019, Spurs will be hoping back-to-back resounding Champions League wins take them back to the level which led them to last season’s final.
Regardless of their regular changes of formation, Wilder feels Mauricio Pochettino’s team have a clearly-defined identity, just like the Blades.
“It’s a club I’ve got an enormous amount of respect for,” said Wilder of today’s opponents.
“I enjoy the manager, he has a structure and an identity. If it’s good enough for the best teams in the division, then it’s good enough for us.
If teams don’t have identity, then people don’t know their jobs. You’ll get cut open.Chris Wilder
“We want to take the game to the opposition in a structured way but then, at the top of the pitch, in an unstructured way because if you are going to break open some of the best teams in the division, you need that.
“There’s definite drivers that we have – being selfless and committed, being enthusiastic. Togetherness is another one.
“From a tactical point of view, we also want to be solid, hard to beat and physical too.”
The approach has served his side well, which is why they go into the game in sixth, while Spurs are 11th.
“If teams don’t have identity, then people don’t know their jobs,” he continued. “You’ll get cut open.
“You want players to play with a freedom in an off-the-cuff manner but there also has to be a structure. If you don’t have identity, you leave yourself wide open.”
On Wednesday, Spurs followed last month’s 5-0 Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade with a 4-0 away victory in the return fixture, but their league form is patchy, with only three home wins since April.
Preview: Page 3