“We have to realise we have a hell of a long way to come. It is our second season in this division and we have had one really good result but that is all it is.
“We have said there are a couple of clubs in the Championship that talk the talk and sometimes don’t walk the walk and I just want us to be humble and work hard and have the attitude that has been in the club for the last 24 months to carry on. There is no way that I will allow that to get out of hand.” The words of Blades boss remained modest and humble following the biggest league win since victory over Hull City last November.
There is also no way the ‘Billy big boots’ syndrome another former Blades manager, Dave Bassett, was so fond of mentioning will be allowed to creep in under Wilder. The work ethic he has instilled was personified by the 10-minute cameo of striker Conor Washington, signed on a one-year deal after his release by QPR on Friday.
Washington, Middlesbrough winger Marvin Johnson and utility defender Martin Cranie were the trio brought in on loan window deadline day and Wilder claimed: “It has been a fantastic window. Pound for pound when you look at what other people have done we are right up there.
“This is the hardest window to work in but we have come out of it in good nick and need to kick on.”
Whilst upset counterpart and former Blades boss Steve Bruce bemoaned the fact that he will have 10 players away on international duty and not have the opportunity to right the wrongs of Bramall Lane, Wilder exclaimed: “It is fantastic for our club to have players going away on international duty. We are gradually moving forward. We have to carry this forward and we go into the international break in a good position. There is no way that we can get carried away. It was a top performance but the key is to produce this type of performance on a regular basis.”
Central defender Jack O’Connell also feels the Blades are evolving after making it four Championship wins in succession as they moved up to third in the fledgling table.
He scored his first Championship goal for the club with a six-yard header from a typical Oliver Norwood’s inch-perfect free-kick in the sixth minute. After the march Jack O’Connell said: “It was a very good win but it’s a long old season. We started well last time but faded away but we have improved our squad and the signs are really good so, hopefully, we can challenge.
“Today was a massive win because Villa are a top side and they are going to be up there. I don’t see why we can’t challenge. When we start well and get in front we can beat anyone. We have a lot more experience now. The staff have learned and the players have learned. There were a lot of us last season who had never played in the Championship for a full season and so we have learned from our mistakes. We still have to be a bit cuter at times but we can learn about that.”
When questioned on his goal, he added: “Funnily enough, the manager said before that game that I was going to score and it’s been a long time coming to be fair.” Yet again proving Wilders wise knowledge of the game, would be worth asking for betting suggestions. Although even then, I can’t see it topping the Sheffield United fan who banked £10,000 on a 2000/1 bet of Jack O’Connell to score first and the Blades to win 4-1.
O’Connell’s goal was followed before the break by others from Mark Duffy and Norwood as the Blades out-passed and out-fought the visitors, from this Bruce admitted: “We did not see it coming but if you do not do the basics you get punished against a very good Sheffield team who blew us away in that first half.”
Four minutes after the restart, it was game over as Blades captain Billy Sharp struck with a shot on the turn to ensure it was game over for the West Midlands club.
Duffy’s goal typified the Blades tenacity, outmuscling John McGinn in midfield and driving forward before letting fly from outside the area to beat heavily criticised Orjan Nyland down to his left.
The goalkeeper was at fault in the 41st minute when Norwood’s free-kick caught him napping as it was whipped in to the near post and bounced in off the scrambling Nyland’s chest.
Anwar El Ghazi beat the offside trap to make it 4-1 in the 61st minute but Nyland prevented David McGoldrick making it 5-1 at the far post and Sharp was ever so slightly offside after knocking the ball in.
With new faces to blend in, Wilder says: “I want difficult decisions, I don’t want easy ones. There has to be a group mentality with everybody knocking on the door.” New incomings plus returners in Paul Coutts adds the needed depth and competition all managers crave for when trying to get the very best out of their players.
Picture Credit: Sheffield United