Sheffield United: Players are told to get nasty or risk losing-out on a top two challenge

Chris Wilder is urging his players to make better decisions in the final third: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Chris Wilder is urging his players to make better decisions in the final third: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has challenged his team to rediscover its ruthless streak or risk losing further ground on the automatic promotion places.

United could enter this weekend’s game at Norwich City 12 points behind second-placed Derby County if Gary Rowett’s side beat Bristol City on Friday night.

Although Wilder’s players have exceeded expectations this season - they are sixth in the table after winning the League One title last term - the 50-year-old believes that poor decision-making in the final third is the biggest factor behind a run of form which has seen them win just twice in 11 outings.

“We’ve done okay to well lately but okay to well doesn’t win you games,” Wilder said. “We’ve come along way but we’ve not shown enough quality in the final bit, when we’ve got into good positions, to really put teams away. And I don’t just do ‘okay.’ That’s not what we want to settle for here.”

Wilder, speaking ahead of the visit to Carrow Road, stressed that the burden of responsibility for “finishing off” opponents does not rest solely with an attack bolstered by the recent arrival of Ricky Holmes from Charlton Athletic and on-loan Manchester United centre-forward James Wilson.

“From tee to green, from box to box, we play some decent football,” he said. “But when we get the chance to opens teams up, we haven’t found the quality to really do that and it’s happened too many times recently.”

“I’m not saying we should have won all of our games recently, but I really do think we should have picked up more than two (points) of late,” Wilder added. “Honestly, I do. And it’s up to us to make sure that happens.”