Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, admitted he “did not enjoy” last night’s game against Coventry City “one bit” despite seeing his team draw level on points with League One leaders Scunthorpe.
The match at the Ricoh Arena was marred by protests against City’s owners SISU with both sets of players being ushered back to the dressing rooms when some home supporters invaded the pitch towards the end of the second-half.
Wilder, who questioned the decision to televise the fixture given City’s problems behind the scenes, acknowledged United had fallen short of their usual standards.
But, after watching Billy Sharp score a late winner, he praised the visitors’ desire.
“To show that ability, that determination, to win a game of football is excellent,” Wilder said after the match. “Especially in such difficult circumstances.
“I have spoken before about the need for us to find different ways of overcoming different challenges over the course of a season and the lads have definitely done that out there.
“We’ve produced some excellent stuff in recent months and the boys are giving everything for the club.
“We weren’t at our best out there by any stretch of the imagination but, in the end, we’ve got the job done.”
“I’ve got to say though, I did not enjoy tonight one bit,” Wilder added.
“Perhaps it’s just me but I do think has this game been chosen (by television) for a reason?
“Did people want to see something happen out there because, with everything that’s been going on, it was all set up to.”
United took the lead midway through the opening period when Sharp scored his first of the evening before Daniel Agyei dragged City level. But United’s captain, who has now claimed 14 goals so far this term, lifted them to second in the table when he powered home during the closing stages.
Wilder, who confirmed a tight hamstring had prevented Stefan Scougall from travelling, also paid tribute to Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Leon Clarke for volunteering to play despite suffering injuries in training on Wednesday.
“They had a collision and were tough and go,” Wilder said. “Ethan had a nasty bang on his foot and Leon took a blow to his Achilles. They were touch and go but both stuck their hands up which, I think, tells you a lot about the character in the group.”