Former Blades boss Chris Wilder was full of praise for Sheffield United last night as they saw off Tottenham in the FA Cup.
United snatched the win after Iliman Ndiaye tricked his way into the area and smashed low past Fraser Forster. It was just what the Blades deserved as well. A performance of excellent defending and smart use of the ball in midfield allowed Paul Heckingbottom’s side to win out quite comfortably in the end.
Of course, United’s defenders set the tone. And speaking at half-time for the BBC, Chris Wilder said the fact Blades players were making contact with Tottenham’s upset the away side.
“Structure of Sheffield United really good. When they’ve had to defend, with a mentality to keep the ball out of the net they’ve been brilliant,” Wilder said.
“I’ve got to say what Sheffield United have done well is make contact with their players at the top of the pitch. Baldock, made contact with Perisic definitely. You have to make it uncomfortable for these top players, definitely. If you let these top players get their head up, they’re just going to pick you off. And I think, especially the back three, have been excellent.”
Jack Robinson and George Baldock both put in blistering old-fashioned tackles in the opening 45 minutes. Chris Basham followed suit in the second half, too, stopping a Spurs counter.
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Wilder makes a good point here and he had a smile on his face when he was saying it in the studio. You could see he liked what he was seeing, and he’d have loved that when in charge.
But it did set the tone for the game. Perisic never once beat Baldock properly, while Son and Richarlison didn’t fancy running into Robinson either. The same can be said for Doyle, Ahmedhodzic, and Basham, who all laid markers down with strong tackles.
That’s the Sheffield United that Bramall Lane loves to see. Sometimes, it’s just about wanting to win more than the opposition. And the Blades were that last night, against a Spurs side who lack any real desire to be successful.