Chris Wilder hopes struggling Sheffield United can kick-start season at Arsenal
Chris Wilder insists Sheffield United are not feeling sorry for themselves as they look to kick-start their season against Arsenal.
The Blades were a revelation last season as they finished ninth on their return to the Premier League but, by Wilder’s own admission, the new campaign has not gone to plan so far.
Wilder’s side are second-bottom of the table after losing all three of their fixtures without a scoring a single goal.
The Blades boss feels performances against Wolves, Aston Villa and Leeds have deserved more and he is hoping to get on the board on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium, where his team earned a 1-1 draw last season.
“The players understand the situation they are in, they are as disappointed as me. It’s a tough time at the minute, but it doesn’t get any easier if you look at our fixture list,” said Wilder, with the Blades set to play Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea in the coming weeks.
“I’m not surprised by their reactions after the final whistle and in the changing room. They aren’t jumping through hoops and thinking about what they are going to do later in the day, they are desperately disappointed, but they have to get over that.
“And they will do. The players are up for the fight and in a good place from a mentality point of view, I’m not sensing anyone feeling sorry for themselves.
“It’s a tough time for us at the football club, and I’d imagine the supporters, as it’s not the start we wanted or expected, but we have been through worse periods and it won’t last forever. If you’re tough you will come through it and we will come through it.
“I’ve had phone calls this week from people in the game and managers and people in football who I know ringing me to tell me the same opinion I have – which is we are not a million miles away from a result.
“Us getting a result at Arsenal will not be the biggest result in world football and we’ve got to believe we can go there and hopefully get something from the game to kick-start our season, because the disappointing aspect is the performances should have warranted a little bit more than the points they have got.”
Wilder will have John Egan available again after he served a one-match ban against Leeds and the defender is likely to go straight back into the starting line-up.
The Blades have completed the signing of Rhian Brewster from Liverpool but it remains to be seen if the striker will be involved at the Emirates Stadium.
Jack O’Connell underwent knee surgery this week. Wilder confirmed there were “no complications” with the operation but the defender will be out for around six months.
As well as Brewster, Wilder is also hoping to sign a centre-half in O’Connell’s absence and he confirmed that Huddersfield’s Terence Kongolo is one of his targets.
“We enquired about Terence, as we have a lot of players – left-footed centre-backs,” said the Blades boss. “Terence was one of those and we have spoken to Huddersfield about him. Talks are ongoing behind the scenes and we hope to fill the void that Jack not playing gives us.”