But as Bolton Wanderers continue to rage about Saturday’s defeat by Sheffield United, Chris Wilder is determined to adopt a more even-tempered approach towards the business of trying to gain promotion.
Yes, the League One leaders’ manager admitted, rival clubs will use all sorts of tactics to try and knock his team out of its stride. But United’s players, together with Wilder and his coaching staff, are more concerned with devising ways to combat them. Not bleating about the methods opponents may or may not employ.
“We always pay people respect and that will never change,” he said. “But, as always, the main focus is on us. I’ll always tell it how I see it, never spin or dress things up, and everyone else here is the same. Nobody is going to hand anything to us on a plate. We’re going to have to work for everything we get. The important thing is to accept that and get on with it.”
Phil Parkinson, the Wanderers manager, was furious following his side’s 2-0 defeat in South Yorkshire; railing against John Fleck, the local media and referee Mike Dean. But while Parkinson was incandescent with rage - he yesterday claimed Tom Thorpe had suffered “car crash” like injuries during a collision with United’s midfielder - Wilder was imperturbable as he began preparing for this weekend’s visit to Rochdale.
“There’s producing performances and there’s achieving stuff,” Wilder continued. “I don’t want us just to produce performances, I want us to be talked about because we are on the right track to achieve something. We did well last time out, although we can improve.”
United moved seven points clear of second-placed Scunthorpe when two goals from Billy Sharp saw them put Wanderers to the sword four days ago. Although the result stretched their unbeaten run to five matches, Wilder could make changes for the trip to Spotland following Samir Carruthers’ impressive cameo.
The substitute delivered a tour-de-force display after replacing Mark Duffy during the second-half and could, as the 49-year-old attempts to guard against injury and fatigue, enjoy a more prominent role over the coming weeks.
“There was a period against Bolton when (James) Henry started to get on the ball and (Josh) Vela started to get on the ball,” Wilder said. “So we decided, with Samir, to put an extra body in there and be disciplined. And off he went, off he went.”
“Joking aside,” Wilder added. “Samir drove the game forward for us and gave us energy. Duff has done great for us and then Samir comes on and does that. That’s why we’ve got these lads here. Samir gave us a spark when we needed it and pushed on, kept getting at the opposition. He did really well.”