We weren’t at the races in the first half
Sheffield United’s 3-0 win against the Clarets yesterday has taken them up to sixth in the Premier League but their position, at the beginning of November, is of no interest to manager Chris Wilder.
“I’ve not looked at the league table and I won’t,” he said after this comfortable victory. “I’ll only assess this season at the end of it. It’s an accumulation of points for us and more than anything, I’m delighted our run has continued. Points are so precious and you have to do a lot of things right to earn them.
Wilder did have some kind words for the well beaten Clarets. He said: “They don’t just go ‘oh you know what we got beat , lets’ see what I’m doing tonight and organise my night out’ and sneak out through the back door. They walk in through the front door and they walk out through the front door.
“Teams have days like they’ve had against us, we will, and they have had plenty of days when it has gone for them as well. Their consistent attitude and the way they go about it is a great marker for myself and our players and our football club.
“If I’m sat here in five years as a Premier League manager then I’ll be pinching myself. To do that with the players and club, and I’m not being disrespectful, they are not a top six club, it’s not a glitzy, glamorous, fashionable club but it’s an honest and hardworking club and even at 3-0 down I knew they weren’t going to chuck the towel in and they didn’t.”
For once, Sean Dyche wasn’t quite so complimentary. Television pictures showed him grim faced on the touchline and he didn’t hold back after the game. “We’ve been down this road before and we know how tough it can be from last season, so this needs to be a bad day at the office and that’s it.
“It needs to be parked, but it won’t be parked easily because there were a number of things today. I mentioned to the players yesterday and how tight it was for decisions as to who plays. Well that throws it all back into the mix. I could have taken any of the back four off at half time, but every shirt is now up for grabs after a first half like that.
““I spoke to them at the break about the journey we’ve been on from last season to this season, and the mentality that comes with that. We’ve shown that many times, but today we came up against a side that showed us what we do; the hunger and desire and the edge that you have to play with. We looked subservient, the body language, being dismissive with the ball and making poor decisions.
“We’ve been down that road before, but not for a long time and today was like being back at the start of last season. It was nothing to do with tactics. We were miles off where we’ve been this season and they were deservedly in front. We’ve been punished recently, but today was about punishing ourselves.
“We weren’t at the races in the first half and that’s a concern because we looked like we were back at the beginning of last season. In and out of possession we were poor. We didn’t have that underlying edge that you need and at times in the first half we were knocking it forward with no need. For all the stories, we don’t ask them to knock it forward all the time. There’s a time and place to do that and be effective, but people were just passing the buck.
“I told them all that at half time in a slightly more aggressive manner than I am now, and at least there was a reaction, but they were miles better and deserved the victory. The thing is, Sheffield United are now being talked about as having a brilliant start, but if we’d won today that would have been us. That’s how fine the balance is. It’s so important to get on the right side and we didn’t do that today.”Follow UpTheClarets:
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