Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has insisted his team is still far from the finished article despite going 15 matches unbeaten in League One.
But Wilder, speaking ahead of tonight’s rearranged fixture with Walsall, warned he expects to see a response against Jon Whitney’s side after accusing United of “not being ruthless enough” during last weekend’s draw at Charlton Athletic.
“I’m respectful of every opposition,” Wilder said. “But I’m 100 per cent focused on getting even more out of this group.
“I’m hungry for success here. We’re in the game to achieve and to have good days, to have that winning feeling. And that’s how I want the players to feel too. We’ve got to keep driving forward.
“There are no days off if we want to achieve. I 100 per cent believe we will get better through the experiences we had on Saturday, through the experiences we’ve had in our last two home games and through work on the training ground.”
Wilder was fiercely critical of United’s failure to translate opportunities into goals during a one-sided contest in the capital. Although he denied his post-match comments were a knee-jerk reaction, the 49-year-old, who yesterday allowed midfielder James Wallace to join Tranmere Rovers on loan, added: “I haven’t smashed the players too much. I’ve just reminded them of a few things because their attitudes are really good. Of course, emotions always run high after every game. No matter what the result is. Their work ethic has been really good. We just need to be a little more clinical. We need to be consistent in our attitude. I won’t apologise for trying to drive this club forward because that’s what I want to do.”
United enter this evening’s contest knowing that an eighth straight league win at Bramall Lane will lift them back into the automatic promotion places.
Describing the club’s following in London as “ridiculous”, Wilder insisted its supporters should take huge credit for that sequence of results.
“They are a massive part of the football club,” he said. “Players come and go but supporters will always be here.
“They are the heartbeat of the club. On Saturday, that wasn’t Chesterfield away or Bradford away. That was London, a three or four hour journey and there were 3,500 there. I think they’re happy with how things are going and the things we are trying to do. So we have to learn from the experience we had down there and keep looking to drive ourselves forward. Striving for even more.”