Chris Wilder praised the attitude of his Sheffield United players after watching them climb to fourth in the League One table.
Wilder had warned last night’s meeting with Shrewsbury Town would prove a huge test of character for the visitors after arriving at Greenhous Meadow unbeaten in eight games.
Two goals from Billy Sharp, either side of a Daniel Lafferty effort, stretched that run to nine ahead of Saturday’s visit to Bradford and Wilder said: “We want the lads to play with a confidence and a swagger but, if there had been any ‘Billy Big-Times’ out there then we could have got done. There weren’t. The dressing room before was the loudest we’ve heard all season and that showed that message had got through.
“The talent is there because I thought we played some excellent football but the most pleasing thing was the work ethic. There were some excellent individual performances; Billy and Matt (Done) were a handful up top, Bash (Chris Basham) was superb and John (Fleck), Couttsy (Paul Coutts) and controlled the midfield. Our two wing-backs, Kieron (Freeman) and Daniel were excellent. It was probably Daniel’s best game since coming to the club.”
Wilder, who revealed Jack O’Connell had missed-out after being taken ill before kick-off, insisted Sharp’s brace underlined why the centre-forward was appointed captain during the close season.
“There’s an added pressure on Billy with the armband, an extra responsibility if you like, but he keeps on showing what he’s all about,” Wilder said. “He works his socks off, he wears his heart on his sleeve and he cares deeply about this club. He’s always produced, even through the difficult periods, and that tells you exactly what he’s made of.”