Chris Wilder has threatened to wield the axe ahead of this weekend’s visit to Millwall.
The Sheffield United manager, whose team travels south tomorrow searching for its first win of the new season, warned Tuesday’s “unacceptable” display against Southend could have serious repercussions for some of his players unless they produce a response in London.
Confirming that performances, not reputations, will influence selection policy at Bramall Lane, Wilder said: “I’m not here to win friends. I’ve never been like that as a manager and I won’t start doing that now.
“But it won’t stop me getting to where I want to be with this football club. We certainly can’t have many more, anymore, nights like that. No way.”
Wilder accused United of gifting Phil Brown’s side two goals as they crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Bramall Lane. Although a string of defensive errors were ultimately responsible for final outcome, the former Northampton Town and Oxford chief also expressed reservations about their work further upfield, adding: “I’ve got some tough decisions to make. I’ve kept the same side for three or four games now. And too many of them have been up and down. For my liking and for everybody’s liking in fact. The team that we’ll get ready for the weekend, I’ve got to get players in it who are going to get us a result.”
Wilder has signed eight new players since taking charge of United in May. Nigel Adkins, his predecessor in South Yorkshire, lost his job after leading the club to an 11th placed finish in League One last term which prompted concerns about the mental strength of its squad.
Although Wilder accepted his share of the responsibility for United’s slow start to the campaign - they have taken one point out of a possible nine - he acknowledged psychology could become an issue again if that poor run of form continues.
“The character of the team clearly wasn’t strong enough or tough enough on that evidence,” he said. “It’s something, I know, that’s been spoken about a lot here before. I have to influence that and lead from the front. Then decide, if someone isn’t capable of showing it, what is going to be done.”
“In fairness to the lads, they’ve shown they can do it before,” Wilder added. “Without a doubt, they’ve shown they can dig-in. But you’ve got to show that same resilience every single time you go out there. I have to pick a team and a formation that gets us a result. I’ve been in this business long enough to recognise that.”
n Millwall v Sheffield United (Saturday, kick-off 3pm).