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Tighten up is the call from Blades chief Chris Wilder

Chris Wilder: Concerned with defending.
Chris Wilder: Concerned with defending.
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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder believes the key to his side completing their play-off mission is exerting more discipline defensively.

The Blades chief has been irked in recent weeks by positive play up the field being undone by lapses in concentration at the back.

It means that instead of being level with, or better than, the sides in the top six going into the final three games, they are three points adrift and playing-catch-up.

Against Millwall last Saturday and Brentford on Good Friday, United conceded from punts into the area, just as they did against Middlesbrough last Tuesday week, although on that occasion it did not cost them any points.

Nevertheless, it is a habit United need to eradicate if they are to finish in the top six. “We have to be brighter and more disciplined,” said Wilder, whose side head to relegation-threatened Birmingham City tomorrow.

“On the set-plays where we switched off against Middlesbrough and Brentford, it is about concentration, discipline and doing your job.

“It’s not always a centre-half, it’s a centre-forward going back that has to be switched on because right now it’s hurting us.

“From tee to green we’ve been the dominant side, in the last five or six games especially, but we’re killing ourselves in the goals that we concede, so we have to tighten ourselves up and we’ll look at that for next season.”

More immediately, the pressing business of securing a place in the play-offs is of greater concern.

“If we win all our games, we’re in with a shout,” said Wilder, whose side face fellow top-six hopefuls Preston and Bristol City in their final two games.

“Our performance levels at the business end of the season have been really good. But we’ll have to come up with some big moments.”