United’s at­tack strat­egy

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de­scribe the feel­ing of walk­ing off the pitch af­ter that.”

The boy­hood Liver­pool fan, 25, had never played in the Pre­mier League un­til this sea­son and – as well as Wilder’s tac­tics – is also be­ing driven on by the pain of be­ing re­leased by Ever­ton as a young­ster.

“That [re­jec­tion] is al­ways in the back of your mind when you get a set­back, you want to prove peo­ple wrong,” he said. “It’s al­ways been there in me and hope­fully I can do that.

“It’s been a jour­ney for my­self and my fam­ily. I’ve had a lot of knock-backs along the way. It hasn’t been easy. But it’s a jour­ney I wouldn’t change. I’m at the top now and hope­fully I can stay there.

“I think if I had been given a chance at Ever­ton, I would have taken it. It was never to be.

“We’re a hard-work­ing bunch here. Play­ing in the lower leagues brings that men­tal­ity.”

Wilder is stay­ing grounded de­spite how high his team are rid­ing in the ta­ble. The United man­ager said: “If I’m sit­ting here in five years’ time with five years as a Pre­mier League man­ager [like Burn­ley man­ager Sean Dy­che], I’ll be pinch­ing my­self then.”

Ev­ery Burn­ley start­ing player’s po­si­tion in the side is un­der­stood to be un­der scrutiny af­ter their fail­ure to com­bat the home side’s threats. The play­ers’ body lan­guage was a worry at times and un­char­ac­ter­is­tic er­rors were made.

Erik Pi­eters, the for­mer Hol­land left-back, had a par­tic­u­larly tor­rid af­ter­noon and was re­placed at half­time by Char­lie Tay­lor. “It was well be­low our stan­dard,” said Tay­lor. “I don’t think we were at it from minute one and they were.”

High times: Chris Wilder has taken Sh­effield United into the top six

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