If Sheffield United and Cardiff City find themselves in the same division next season, either the Championship or the Premier League, their meetings could become caustic after Chris Wilder’s latest insight into the strained relationship between the two squads.
Although both Wilder and Neil Warnock conducted themselves in exemplary fashion following Monday’s draw at Bramall Lane, the United manager claimed a member of the visitors’ coaching staff had criticised his team’s character before Anthony Pilkington’s 92nd equaliser.
Wilder was speaking after it emerged United, who had earlier taken the lead through Leon Clarke, were upset by a remark about their prospects of challenging for promotion after being beaten by City in August.
“I heard one of their staff say that we were smug,” he said. “I don’t know where that game from.
“I know what the game is all about. We totally respect the opposition. I don’t think my players have got smug attitudes because it wouldn’t be allowed. Full stop.”
Despite the spat, both Wilder and Warnock chose to talk-up each other’s top-flight credentials ahead of a pivotal weekend in the Championship calender. Wilder, whose side are a point outside the play-offs with six matches remaining, predicted City will push Wolverhampton Wanderers hard for their title. Warnock, who led United into the PL 12 years ago, insisted his former club are serious challengers for a play-off place after admitting they had controlled long periods of the game.
“They were disappointed not to get the result they arguably warranted against a team that has had an excellent record and deserves to be where it is in the table,” Wilder, referring to second-placed City, said. “People can say what they want about who is the second best team in the competition at the moment but it’s them, not anybody else, because the table tells you that.”