Chris Wilder believes Sheffield United are proving a force to be reckoned with in the Championship because they are more determined to win than afraid to lose.
Wilder, whose team enter Friday’s Yorkshire derby against Leeds only two points behind leaders Wolves, insisted that not being “embarrassed” by coming under pressure has enabled his players to maintain their attack-minded approach.
“We’re in the Championship and so we’re up against some really big boys, some really good sides, some fantastic players and managers,” Wilder said. “We respect that we are going to have to defend at times.
We’re not embarrassed to do that. You have to expect it. There are still things we can work on and it’s important we do work on them to try and keep on moving forward.”
United travel to Elland Road having won nine and lost four of their 13 outings since lifting the League One title last term. The fact Oldham Athletic were the last side to hold them to a draw - in March earlier this year - underlines Wilder’s belief that: “if you do lose, there are ways to do it, by going down fighting.”
“I’ve said to the players don’t be embarrassed, because there will be games up and down the country, for the next 50 years, where teams have periods of the game,” he said. “We don’t want to sit on the crossbar but sometimes you do get pushed back. It’s how you cope with that, how you stick together.
“I would expect tired legs at the end of a game because we work our socks off for 90 minutes, not for the last 10 or 15.”
“I think we realise we are going in the right direction,” Wilder added. “You can’t hide away from that. The players are producing consistent performances and the atmosphere is first class, both on and off the pitch. On top of that, I’ve got a group that will go right until the end.
“There’s a lot of football to be played but we can only approach it in the right way and try to win. That’s all we are trying to do, win every game.”