(Reuters) – Sheffield United will not take it easy and let their standards slip during a run of fixtures against teams below them in the standings, the Premier League club’s manager Chris Wilder said on Wednesday.
The promoted side are in eighth place with 19 points — seven points behind the top four and Champions League spots — and are the only team apart from league leaders Liverpool who are unbeaten in away games.
Sheffield face Newcastle United (14th), Norwich City (19th), Aston Villa (15th), Brighton & Hove Albion (16th) and Watford (20th) in their next five games this month and Wilder said they would approach each match as if they were playing a top team.
“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,” Wilder told reporters ahead of Thursday’s home fixture against Newcastle.
“The next game is the most important and these ones are just as difficult as Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham (Hotspur) 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.”
Wilder revealed there were no new injuries and that he would rotate his squad with the Blades playing away at Norwich three days later.
“Everybody is fit and it is a testament to the conditioning work and work done by people away from lights,” Wilder added.
“There’s always an element of luck with injuries, but an element of conditioning and hard work away from first team games… It gives us the opportunity to rotate if we want to, whether on Thursday night or Sunday.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)