(Reuters) – Sheffield United may have accomplished wonders by gaining promotion from the third tier to the top flight in three seasons but they are still favourites to be relegated at the end of the season, manager Chris Wilder said on Friday.
Wilder took charge of Sheffield in 2016 when they were in League One and led them to the title the next year and a second place finish in the Championship last season to gain automatic promotion.
“When people talk about being favourites to go down… we are one of the biggest favourites in a number of years. It’s not an issue with us,” Wilder told reporters ahead of Sunday’s match against Crystal Palace.
“Six years in League One to then, all of a sudden, being in the Premier League. The acceleration of where we’ve gone from – 12th in League One in the space of three or four years to… the top 10 of the Premier League after one game has been incredible.
“We are favourites to go down and by a long way. I get that. We have to use everything we have got to survive and pick points up.”
Wilder also said they cannot be compared to Wolverhampton Wanderers, who gained promotion to the Premier League in 2018 and finished seventh last season to qualify for the Europa League.
“We are not a team that has been knocking on the door of the Premier League for four, five and six years,” Wilder added.
“We haven’t been a (team like) Wolves that set themselves up to be a mid-table Premier League team because that is basically what they did and then added off the back of that.”
Sunday’s match will be Sheffield’s first home match in the top flight in 12 years after they were relegated in 2007 and Wilder said he hopes his side can give visiting teams a tough time at the 32,700-capacity Bramall Lane.
“We have to make Bramall Lane one of the most difficult places for any team to come and get a result,” he said. “But the good thing is (the fans) are realistic.
“They totally understand the journey we have been on. They will be 100% on our side, more than ever I believe.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)