(Reuters) - Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder believes his players have a point to prove against Manchester United in the Premier League on Wednesday after suffering a second-half collapse against Newcastle United at the weekend.
The Blades’ Champions League qualification hopes took a major knock on Sunday when they were beaten 3-0 by Newcastle following defender John Egan’s dismissal five minutes after halftime.
Sheffield United’s rise up to seventh place has been built on a high-intensity style and defensive discipline but Wilder feels the players have struggled to readjust to the pace of the league since they returned from a 100-day hiatus last week.
“If you look through the last two games not many can stick their hand up and say they are on top of their game,” Wilder, who side also played a goalless draw against Aston Villa last week, told a virtual news conference on Monday.
“Not many teams are hitting their rhythm, I should imagine every manager is saying the same thing.
“I think we can beat the best team in the world on our day. You have to have that attitude and go with that mindset.”
Wilder has plenty to ponder before drawing up his teamsheet for Wednesday’s game against fifth-placed Manchester United.
Phil Jagielka, a possible replacement for the suspended Egan, faces a race against time to be fit for the match, along with Jack O’Connell.
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson is also ineligible to play against his parent club Manchester United, with either Simon Moore or Michael Verrips set to replace him at Old Trafford.
Henderson’s loan deal is set to expire on June 30 but Wilder has spoken to his United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about a short-term contract extension.
“Ole was fine with extending his loan, hopefully that will get signed off before the deadline,” Wilder added.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge