Chris Wilder denied a half-time dressing down proved the catalyst for Sheffield United’s 4-1 victory over Chesterfield.
Instead Wilder, whose side had trailed at the break, revealed his players had “taken charge of things” themselves after receiving some tactical advice from the visitors’ coaching staff.
“There are certain times when you’ve got to come in and raise it,” Wilder said. “I just thought it was a time for patience from my point of view. But they had the hump with each other and that shows me they’ve got pride in the shirt and that desire and mentality to do well. They didn’t want anyone taking the run from them in front of a great crowd and a great away following. That tells you a lot about the kind of lads that they are.”
Jon Nolan, the former Grimsby Town midfielder, fired Chesterfield in front as Danny Wilson’s side capitalised on United’s dreadfully slow start. But goals from John Fleck, Billy Sharp and Leon Clarke, after Kieron Freeman’s equaliser, lifted the visitors to third in the table. They enter Saturday’s meeting with Shrewsbury Town unbeaten in 12 League One games.
“We just told the players at half-time that we’ve been in worse positions that this before and turned it around,” Wilder continued. “So it was a case of just being patient and working hard. I was delighted to see Leon out there, Matty (Done) out there and Caolan (Lavery) out there also. We looked a strong side this afternoon and, when I turned round, I had options on the bench.”
Chesterfield remained 24th - seven points from safety - after being condemned to their eight straight league defeat. But, when Nolan fired them in front, an upset appeared to be on the cards. Despite being swept aside after the interval, Chesterfield manager Danny Wilson cut a phlegmatic figure during the post-match inquest.
Wilder was positively cock-a-hoop but, out of respect for his opposite number, kept his emotions in check and warned “there is still plenty of football to be played yet.”
“Listen, Chesterfield are in a false position,” Wilder said. “(Gboly) Ariyibi is a good player, (Ched) Evans is a good player and so is (Jay) O’Shea. If we’d have gone 2-0 down, suddenly there’s a big question mark. But we always knew, with Danny and Morgs (Chris Morgan) here, that it would be a tough match and that we’d have to work extremely hard.”