Sheffield United: Chris Wilder can't resist a dig as he calls a surprise meeting ahead of this weekend's game against Wigan Athletic

Earlier this morning, before they had even begun training, Sheffield United's players were summoned to a meeting at the Steelphalt Academy.

Thursday, 25th October 2018, 3:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th October 2018, 3:43 pm
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

As they filed into the room, probably fearing the worst, Chris Wilder rose to his feet and delivered an address.

"There's times when we sit down and say what we're not doing right," the United manager said, reflecting on what happened. "So I called another one to tell them there's so much they're doing right. And, if they carry that on, they should be proud of themselves."

On Saturday, when Wigan Athletic arrive at Bramall Lane, United know a win could see them return to the top of the Championship depending upon results elsewhere. Yet, despite preparing for the contest third in the table, Wilder spent his latest pre-match media briefing being asked to analyse their faults. It is a confusing yet encouraging situation for a manager who, a little over 12 months ago, was being told the division would chew-up his newly promoted squad and spit them out.

"We are a long way off the likes of Stoke City, West Brom and other clubs in the division in terms of what you need to push on," he continued. "But we're up there and we're competing. That's important."

Tuesday's draw with City provoked yet more mixed emotions as United dominated for long periods but were held to a draw. Overlooking the fact the visitors' named near £70m worth of talent in their starting eleven and a former Barcelona player on the bench, some commentators suggested City's position in the rankings meant it was an opportunity missed. Wilder, though, was having nothing of the sort.

"I always go back to the Birmingham City game not so long back, that always stands out for me. Everyone was moaning and groaning then because we'd only drawn with them. Then, they go on a 10 match unbeaten run and beat Leeds in the game after playing us.

Sheffield United host Wigan Athletic this weekend

"I think it would be quite arrogant of us to say we're up there, in the top three, but the positions keep changing. If you play well, you tend to pick up points and stay up there. If you don't pick up points, then of course you won't."

Chris Wilder has helped Sheffield United climb to third in the table