Digital Football Journalist
Chris Wilder says Sheffield United must buy 'better players'; Ralph Hasenhuttl on Danny Ings
Wilder: "We have to come stronger next year, we have to recruit well in the summer, we have to improve the players we've got here, and bring better players in if we want to be an established Premier League football club"
Last Updated: 26/07/20 9:49pm
Chris Wilder said Sheffield United must invest in "better players" to establish themselves after a third straight defeat at Southampton.
The Blades were within a game in hand of moving two points off fourth spot when the Premier League resumed - but have since seen their European dreams falter on the back of a punishing run of 10 games in little over a month, and a small squad at Wilder's disposal.
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Their fatigue showed in their final-day 3-1 defeat at Southampton; having deservedly led at half-time, the leggy Blades were out-thought and outfought after the break, with Che Adams' double and a penalty from Danny Ings denying them the chance to finish eighth, which would have marked their highest league position since 1975.
"It's a feeling like we had when we first got into the Championship, we just faded away towards the back end of the season," Wilder told Sky Sports after full-time.
"We have to come stronger next year, we have to recruit well in the summer, we have to improve the players we've got here, and bring better players in if we want to be an established Premier League football club.
"It's been a hell of a long season for us, with everybody else, we've been stretched as a squad, you've seen the players out there late on. The players have given everything for the football club, so I can't be too critical of them.
"We've come to Southampton today and you look at the players they've got, and we've finished above them. I'm not trying to deflect anything, what I'm saying is that to continue the journey, we have to recruit well and improve on the players and bring better players in to compete.
"We looked stretched today, we looked tired, and that's what happened when you give time and space to really good players, they punished us and we didn't punish them."
Hasenhuttl: Danny Ings should get Silver Boot!
It proved a disappointing afternoon for Ings, whose 84th-minute penalty was not enough for a share of the Premier League Golden Boot at the end of a tremendous individual season for the forward, who became Southampton's first 20 league goalscorer since James Beattie in 2003.
But after his 22-goal haul, which left him tied with Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and one behind winner Jamie Vardy, Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports: "One goal I think Danny was missing, the Silver Boot should be for him! But it should shine gold. When you score 22 goals for Southampton in one season, I think that is amazing.
"He is not egotistical and wanting to score, he is always passing the ball in the box. He is a real team player and that's what I like so much about him."
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has been strongly linked with a move away from St Mary's this summer, and was stripped of the club captaincy earlier this season after refusing to sign a new contract.
When asked about his future, Hasenhuttl added: "He has one more year on his contract, for me one more year means a lot in football. If there is no club that pays us what we want for him, then he will stay with us for another year, no problem."