Photo by Peter Cziborra - Pool/Getty Images

18th game was turning point when Sheffield United beat relegation 30 years ago and Wilder believes in repeat

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder still believes his team can avoid relegation this season.

That’s despite the fact they’ve gone 17 games this season without winning in the Premier League.

They most recently lost 2-0 at Crystal Palace, which keeps them bottom with just two points.

Wilder played in a Blades team 30 years ago which was in a similar position.

After 17 league matches United also hadn’t won and were in the First Division drop zone.

In game 18 they beat Nottingham Forest 3-2, which sparked a turnaround in form under boss Dave Bassett that saw them finish 13th. It included seven successive victories in the second half of the campaign.

“The 17th game of that season 30 years ago it was similar. They were tight games,” Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“But there was a togetherness, which you’re seeing still to compete and do their best.

“But obviously it takes a hit with every game that goes by without that result.

“With that experience that I’ve had and been involved in, the group were tight – which they are now.

“That group got that one win which set them off and it’s as basic as that.

“It comes with one big moment, one big performance, one big result. As it did in that period 30 years ago, which obviously resulted in the team winning a few games in the second part of the season.”

Can Sheffield United avoid relegation?

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Mathematically, of course they can. Although they are already 12 points from safety.

Yet the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Fulham and Brighton and Hove Albion above them are also struggling for form.

The main problem for the Blades currently, however, is a complete lack of confidence.

United have only scored eight goals in 17 fixtures. They had two shots on target at Selhurst Park as they blanked for the third game in a row.

As soon as they go a goal behind they generally drift towards defeat.

Wilder may not have given up yet and that’s obviously a good thing. The 53-year-old has achieved it as a player and it would be an even greater feat to do it as a manager.

But something needs to change quickly.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know