Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder says he does not expect his players to behave like “robots” as they attempt to secure promotion from League One.
But the 49-year-old, whose side are eight points clear at the top of the table, is demanding the same “pride” and “commitment” which has seen them move clear of the chasing pack with 10 matches remaining.
“I don’t think we have needed any motivation all season, because we have had a goal in mind from the start,” Wilder said. “To do well and work with pride for this football club. I want my boys to go out and have a beer and enjoy themselves, they deserve it, they are not robots.”
Wilder refused to impose a strict code of practice after taking charge of United in May, preferring to trust his squad to behave like adults when they are away from Bramall Lane instead. But, speaking ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Swindon Town, he insisted his easygoing approach should not be confused with a lack of desire or discipline.
“I go out and have a beer, as people know, when we win and lose, we are all human beings,” Wilder added. “But I want my players to play with pride, there is no motivation ever needed - and there shouldn’t be.
“I never ask them to run around, show commitment and be motivated, that is a ‘given’ if you want to play for this football club.”
United are without a game this weekend because Millwall, their scheduled opponents, have reached the last eight of the FA Cup. The match will now take place on March 28, following meetings with Charlton Athletic and Oldham.
“We all know what we want to achieve and where we want to get to,” Wilder said. “We’ve put ourselves in a good position, there’s no point in pretending otherwise, but there’s still a lot of work to do before we can say we’ve achieved anything. It’s important to keep working hard and preparing properly. The minute you take something for granted, football bites you back.”