Chris Wilder will never order his players to feign injury in order to get an opponent sent-off.
But, speaking ahead of tonight’s League One fixture against Bristol Rovers, Sheffield United’s manager urged the authorities to help stamp-out some of the theatrics he believes are creeping into the modern game.
Wilder, who will be without Chris Basham for the meeting with Darrell Clarke’s side following the midfielder’s controversial red card at Scunthorpe last weekend, said: “I’m not going to ask my players to roll about. There is being professional and playing the game.
“But if that’s a tactic you have to overcome, then I’d rather set my team up to play decent football and compete.
“We want to do it in the right way, we are a competitive side. Referees have to be stronger and see through things to make the right decisions. It is a physical competitive sport and I don’t think that should be taken out of the game.”
Despite confirming United would not appeal Basham’s dismissal, Wilder yesterday insisted the 28-year-old had been harshly treated for his “honest” challenge on Neal Bishop.
“Compete and play are going to be two big words for us this season,” Wilder added.
“But we can’t ask the lads to be competitive and then dangle a foot in. John Fleck has also picked up bookings because we’re asking them to tackle and the fans demand they tackle.
“We’ve got flair players at the top of the pitch and we want them to play. But they also understand they have to compete and be competed against.
“Sharpy (Billy Sharp) and Doney (Matt Done) get kicked from pillar to post like Scougs (Stefan Scougall) but they just pick themselves up and get on with it.”