Chris Wilder: Sheffield United not relaxed about facing Premier League strugglers
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By Calum Wilson
Last Updated: 04/12/19 10:40am
Chris Wilder insists there will be "no foot off the gas" from his Sheffield United side as they prepare to face four of the Premier League's bottom seven sides this month.
The Blades have a favourable-looking run-up to Christmas, starting with a home match against 14th-placed Newcastle on Thursday, before meeting Norwich, Aston Villa and Brighton.
Wilder's side have surprised many so far this season, picking up 19 points from their first 14 games, and are unbeaten in their last seven league matches - winning two and drawing five - including against Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal.
When asked if he thought their upcoming fixtures presented a good opportunity to add to their tally, Wilder said: "Far from it.
"There's a school of thought that those sort of games take care of themselves but from our point of view the mentality has been consistent right the way through.
"The next game is the most important and these ones are just as difficult as Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham or Wolverhampton Wanderers.
"There is no foot off the gas and there's no relaxing. We're not that type of club and I'm not that type of manager.
"If we have an off day, it is through mistakes and not attitude.
"Expectation levels have risen and we're ahead of a group of clubs that are tightly-placed in terms of points so it is really important that we move onto the next game."
Former Owl Bruce could get 'a standing ovation'
Thursday's match means a reunion in the dugout between Wilder and Steve Bruce, having faced off last season in the Sheffield derby before Bruce's switch from Wednesday to Newcastle.
Wilder revealed he has called Bruce for advice on multiple occasions, but any friendship was put on hold during their time as cross-city rivals.
"I've always liked him, it just got put on pause for a while," Wilder joked.
"I don't know what sort of reception he is going to get. I think he might get a standing ovation."
Bruce's appointment in July was met with a mixed reaction on Tyneside, but Wilder insists the Newcastle-supporting 58-year-old is a "good fit" for the club.
"It is very rare that any manager can go into a football club and is universally met with approval," he said.
"Things could quite easily have been different at Villa [for Bruce]. He has taken teams out of the Championship and into the Premier League and he has obviously steadied things at Newcastle."
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