Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has been quoted as saying that Leeds United have been the best side in the Championship for the past eight months – but is it all mind games?
Leeds currently sit in second place after Norwich City returned to the top of the Championship on Wednesday night. The Canaries beat Hull City, though Nigel Adkins’ side pushed Norwich all the way – the result finishing 3-2.
Sheffield United also won, beating Brentford 2-0 while Leeds annihilated Reading 3-0 at the Madjeski Stadium. The table looks like this – Norwich in first on 75, Leeds in second on 73 and the Blades in third on 71.
Leeds play host to Wilder’s Sheffield United on Saturday in an enormous clash. The result will surely have an enormous bearing on who finishes in the top two, and who must succumb to the play-offs.
Wilder was asked about Leeds and he claimed Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been the best in the division this season – before asking whether they could continue their form for another month.
“We are up against arguably the best team in the division for the past eight months. Whether that can continue for another month is to be seen,” Wilder said, as quoted by Yorkshire Post writer Richard Sutcliffe on Twitter.
Wilder’s comments are flattering to those of a Leeds persuasion. Indeed, Leeds have arguably been the side easiest on the eye since Bielsa joined. But Wilder’s question, asking if Leeds can keep it up, is surely mind games.
The pressure is already enormous on Leeds players – more so than Norwich and Sheffield United. Leeds’ enormous fan base craves Premier League football, with 2019 marking 15 years since they watched Leeds in the top flight.
Wilder has increased that pressure, stating that Leeds have to continue to be the best side in the division if they are to gain promotion – starting with Saturday. It is a comment that has the potential to play with Leeds’ stars.