Sheffield United: ‘We want to win this for the city, not just ourselves,’ Chris Wilder says ahead of tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby against Leeds

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder does not believe his city gets the credit it deserves: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder does not believe his city gets the credit it deserves: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Chris Wilder is aiming to strike a blow for Sheffield United and the city as a whole when his team faces Leeds today.

Although the match is of critical importance at the top end of the Championship table - United will climb above Marcelo Bielsa's second-placed side if they win - Wilder believes it also represents an opportunity redress a regional imbalance he believes has existed for nearly three decades.

"I remember when we went up and Leeds went up the same year," Wilder, a member of the United's 1990 promotion-winning squad, said. "Calendar or Look North, maybe both, were 'Leeds this and Leeds that' and then, 'Oh, by the way, Sheffield United went up as well.' That's how it is. It is what it is. It's been like that for 30 years."

Although Wilder denied his comments are designed to "rev-up" United's players ahead of tomorrow’s meeting at Bramall Lane, his words will strike a chord with people across the area who suspect Leeds receives preferential treatment from the county's powerbrokers. 

"We always seem to be regarded as being in Leeds' shadow," he continued. "And that Leeds is the centre of Yorkshire. We don't need that to stoke our fires and motivate us. We've got enough fire inside us to get up for this game, don't worry about that.

"Listen, I suppose with Leeds being in Europe recently and that period they had in the Seventies, okay, nobody in this area has achieved those heights. So maybe that's why people keep saying 'Shut up and get back down the M1.'"

Wilder suspects Sheffield is not treated the same way as Leeds by outsider: Gerard Binks

Wilder suspects Sheffield is not treated the same way as Leeds by outsider: Gerard Binks

Despite clearly being irritated by the way Sheffield and Leeds are portrayed as un-equals when it comes to sport, business and politics, Wilder has the utmost respect for both Bielsa and his squad.

The former Newell's Old Boys defender managed Argentina, Chile, Lazio and Athletic Bilbao before taking charge at Elland Road earlier this year.

Wilder, who started his senior coaching career with Alfreton Town, said: "Every manager has their own way, we all have our own history and past and his is much different to the one I've taken.

"But looking round the Championship, all managers are different, from Dean Smith, to Frank Lampard, to Paul Warne, that's what makes the division so interesting.

Many people in Sheffield say Leeds gets preferential treatment: Simon Hulme

Many people in Sheffield say Leeds gets preferential treatment: Simon Hulme

"Every week you come up against a different style of play, different approaches, it shows you the attraction of the Championship, that Leeds managed to attract someone with the stature of Marcelo."

"People talk about the influence of managers, but it is the players who should take credit," he added. "They certainly do from me in terms of our start and so should the Leeds players.

"They've got a good group and they've taken on-board the instructions and demands of their manager and produced performances, like ours have in terms of what I demand from them."

Chris Wilder says his team are already motivated

Chris Wilder says his team are already motivated