Sheffield United: Chris Wilder doesn’t want another hard luck story against Barnsley

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He has thanked his opposite numbers and accepted their sympathies with exceedingly good grace.

But Chris Wilder admits he is already sick to the back teeth of being told Sheffield United are good enough to survive in the Championship within moments of a defeat.

It is a situation the 49-year-old wants his players to address when, following defeats by Middlesbrough and Cardiff City, they return to action against Barnsley this afternoon. And, having studied both performances in detail, he has highlighted two key areas where they can improve.

“It’s just the sharpness in our play,” Wilder said. “Coupled with a bit of discipline when they are in possession because, by and large, I think we’ve been ‘in’ every game we’ve played. We understand games in the Championship are going to be tight games, that are decided in both boxes. So it’s the fine details really, being more ruthless at both ends of the pitch.”

United began the new season with a 1-0 win over Brentford before travelling to Teesside and the Welsh capital. After being denied a share of the spoils in the North-East when Jack O’Connell’s last minute equaliser was incorrectly disallowed, goals from Sean Morrison and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing condemned them to back to back losses in the league for the first time since August last year.

“We haven’t been on the rack,” Wilder continued. “There have been periods where teams have been on top - I understand that, and accept that - but I think the opposition will say the same.

“I keep asking the question of the coaching staff, are teams sitting deeper on us, or are we pushing them back? I think we are pushing them back. Cardiff, they wanted to win the game 3-0 or 4-0. Middlesbrough did too.

“It’s like we were last year, we wouldn’t be happy being 1-0 or 2-0, because it’s a dangerous scoreline. They wanted to blow us out of the game, but I don’t think we have allowed them to do that.”

Injecting some extra creativity into United’s play, without sacrificing the solid base which makes them so competitive, is Wilder’s most pressing concern as he prepares for the visit of Paul Heckingbottom’s side. (Kick-off 12.15pm).

“I don’t want to hear people saying how well we’ve done,” Wilder said. “What I do want is points.”