Wilder ignoring table despite Blades jumping to fifth

Sheffield United

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder insists he will not be looking at the Premier League table despite his side jumping up to fifth.

The Blades continue to fly high on their return to the top flight and Saturday’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa keeps them sitting just below the Champions League places, a far cry from relegation, which many predicted at the start of the season.

Remaining in the Premier League is the objective for both clubs, after coming up from the Championship last season, and after a couple of second-half goals by John Fleck, the Blades are well on their way to achieving that aim.

A dire first half was followed by a very watchable second period in which the Scot’s double saw Wilder’s team move within four points of Chelsea, who currently occupy the final Champions League spot.

For Villa, whose captain Jack Grealish crashed a penalty against the crossbar when attempting to halve his side’s deficit, survival is proving to be more of a battle and they have now lost three on the bounce.

Wilder is not looking at the table but he is keeping an eye on their points tally, with the magical 40 point mark the first aim. They are almost halfway there having amassed 17 so far.

“It’s been a big week for us with six points, winning at Norwich and then beating Villa – who are an historic football club, a big club,” he said.

Wilder also took time to praise man-of-the-match Fleck, saluting his energy levels in the second half in particular.

“It was a tough afternoon for him in that midfield against the likes of John McGinn, who he knows from his Scotland days and who he played in there again last season,” he added.

“But he was still running past people with 93 minutes on the clock. I’m a bit disappointed he didn’t get his hat-trick because that would have put the icing on the performance.”