Sheffield United: Chris Wilder is happy to accept back-handed compliments

Mark Duffy has been closely policed by opponents of late. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Mark Duffy has been closely policed by opponents of late. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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Sheffield United’s flair players have been told they must get used to being man-marked by opponents this season.

Chris Wilder believes Fleetwood Town’s decision to change tactics in a bid to combat Mark Duffy at Highbury last weekend could signal the start of a tactical trend after his team’s recent form.

Wilder’s counterpart Uwe Rosler deployed full-back Conor McLaughlin in midfield during Saturday’s 1-1 after identifying Duffy as a vital cog in United’s game plan.

“The way the team was set-up, we passed it around and they were booting the ball away,” Wilder, the United manager, said. “There could have been 10 minutes of added time because of the stuff that was going on. And we have to take that as a back-handed compliment.

“Their lad was out there to do a job on Duffy and he followed him about all afternoon. But we have to accept that, it’s going to happen.”

United are without a game tomorrow after their meeting with Walsall was postponed due to international call-ups. Wilder’s players will return to action when Port Vale visit Bramall Lane in eight days time when, despite the oppositions’ own bright start to the season, Wilder acknowledges Bruno Ribeiro could be tempted to employ a similar approach.

But Chris Wilder believes that is a backhanded compliment. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

But Chris Wilder believes that is a backhanded compliment. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“We always respect the opposition,” Wilder, whose team are unbeaten in seven league outings, said. “Of course you have to take into account what might or might not do but, to be honest, we prefer to focus on how we want to go about things and playing our own game. There’s a balance to be struck but you always have to try and weight things in your own favour, concentrate on doing what you’re good at and emphasising your own strengths.”

Meanwhile, United’s game with Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena has been switched from December 17 to December 15 (kick-off 7.45pm) after being selected for live television coverage.

Mark Duffy celebrates his goal at AFC Wimbledon 
�2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

Mark Duffy celebrates his goal at AFC Wimbledon �2016 Sport Image all rights reserved