Chris Wilder fretful Sheffield United '˜may have hit bit of a ceiling'

SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder has called on his players to prove they are capable of taking the club to the next level.

Manager Chris Wilder says Sheffield United ran out of belief and became disjointed against West Brom (Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage).

The Blades slipped a place to fifth in the table last night following the East Midlands derby between Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

Nevertheless, United can be pleased with their haul of 37 points from 22 games heading into the weekend trip to bottom club Ipswich Town.

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Wilder, however, wants more and is calling on his side to ensure there is no repeat of the recent back-to-back home defeats against rivals Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion.

“When it comes to top-end Championship football we have an inability to be clinical at big moments,” said the 51-year-old. “It is hurting us this year.

“West Brom was not the first time either. Against Stoke (in a 1-1 draw) we should have been out of sight. Sheffield Wednesday (who last month earned a goalless draw at Bramall Lane) the same.

“We also should have got something from a tight game against Leeds United.

“We have to keep working and keep going. But this is a story that has been happening for quite a while. Maybe we have hit a bit of a ceiling.

“The only way they improve it is by actions, not talk. I know how to get to the next level, the coaching staff know how to get to the next level. Have we got the players to do that? A difficult question to answer because I do not want to kill my players, they have done fantastically well.

“The first 35 minutes against West Brom were not a fluke. This is a talented group of players. There are quite a lot of good things going on, but we ran out of belief and became too disjointed.

“What surprised me most was how we went from the performance of the opening 35 minutes to what followed. That is not really like us.

“Consistently we play well. There is not usually a dip in games. Maybe from game to game, but to happen during a game was difficult for me to take. For me it was a head scratching moment for probably the first time. Difficult to take.”

Loanee Ben Woodburn has returned to parent club Liverpool for treatment on an ankle injury suffered in training with the Yorkshire club.