Chris Wilder defends Blades keeper Aaron Ramsdale after tough start to season

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder says Aaron Ramsdale has to “smile and battle his way through” the tough time he is enduring.

Wilder has also stressed the England Under-21 international is a “good goalkeeper” who was signed “because we know what he’s about”.

Ramsdale is yet to keep a clean sheet since rejoining the club from Bournemouth in August.

And Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Manchester United – the rock-bottom Blades’ 12th defeat in 13 Premier League games this term – saw him make a poor attempt at a save as Marcus Rashford scored the Red Devils’ third.

After the match Ramsdale posted a message on Twitter that said: “Disappointed with how tonight went after a great effort from the lads, I’ll take all the criticism on the chin and go again this weekend.”

When asked about Ramsdale ahead of Sunday’s trip to Brighton, Wilder said: “We talk to him, and we talk to all the players.

“He’s going through a tough period of his career but he has to smile and battle his way through it, that’s how it is.

“We signed him because we know what he’s about, he plays at international level because they know what he’s about, and he’s going through a tough period – we all are.

“There’s instant judgement in this world about how you are, and you have to take the good with the bad, and we all have to do that. So he has to do that.

“He’s a good goalkeeper, nothing really changes. We have signed him for three years, we haven’t just signed him for 13 games, we’re not ripping his contract up.

“He cares about this football club, I know that, and he’s disappointed, he wants to produce flawless performances, and any slight mistake gets punished at this level, and that’s what’s happening at the moment, with not just Aaron, with everybody, and everybody has to come through that.

“I don’t dictate to them what they have to do on social media, I think you know my views on social media. He’ll be getting a bit at the moment, as we all are, and we have to take that on the chin.”

Wilder’s side, with just one point on the board, headed into the weekend nine adrift of safety.

And he has said that the next four games – against Brighton, Everton at home on Boxing Day, Burnley away three days later and then Crystal Palace away on January 2 – must see them take “a healthy points total if we are going to give ourselves an opportunity of staying in the division.”

While they were beaten again on Thursday, Wilder felt there were “a lot of positives”, four days on from a 3-0 loss at Southampton where the team was “not good enough”.

And he said: “If we produce what we produced (on Thursday), I think everybody in the club that has the ability to affect results will believe that that will pick up points, those type of performances.

“Now the challenge is to take that on and add a big performance to try to get a big result.”