Chris Wilder appears to have inadvertently admitted Sheffield United are already relegated this season.
It’s hardly news to Blades fans that their team will more than likely be back playing in the Championship next term.
Following a 1-0 defeat at Fulham on Saturday night, United remain bottom of the Premier League and 14 points from safety.
They have lost 20 of their 25 league matches and have just 11 points.
Yet managers generally don’t admit their team are relegated, at least in public, until it is mathematically confirmed.
However, while criticising referee Marin Atkinson for not giving his team a penalty at Craven Cottage, Wilder seemed to do just that.
“They (referees) won’t have to put up with us much longer,” the Blades boss told BBC Radio Sheffield. “But there will be another promoted team who comes into the division and gets the poor decisions that we’re on the end of.”
Wilder backtracks after saying Sheffield United will be relegated
When pressed on his admission, Wilder checked himself a little bit and was fare more conservative with his answer.
“We’ve got to do so much. We’ll keep going, we’ll keep fighting,” he continued.
“They’ve (the players) got to keep going right to the end. We’ve got an obligation to our supporters.
“But I’m not going to sit here and mug everybody off by saying, ‘we’ve got a great chance’. Out of 14 games, we’ve got to win eight and pick up another couple of results.
“It’s going to be an incredible ask.”
Relegation does look like an inevitability now. Not many will criticise Wilder for admitting that.
But what is disappointing is the manner in which it’s happening.
A ninth place finish in their first top fight campaign in 12 years – which was also their highest position since 1992 – was an incredible achievement last season.
Matching that was always going to be tough. However, drifting back to the second tier with one of the worst Premier League points tallies ever is simply not good enough.