Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder claims his struggling team have nothing to lose as they face Manchester United on Wednesday.
The two clubs are experiencing contrasting fortunes at opposite ends of the Premier League table.
The Blades are well adrift at the bottom with just one league win all season while United have emerged as strong title contenders on the back of a 13-game unbeaten run.
— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) January 26, 2021
Wilder said: “It’s a huge challenge for us and the players but we’ve nothing to lose. We’re not expected to get anything, so go out there and give it a go.
“The odds and opinions will all be in Manchester United’s favour. We can’t do anything about that. If I was a neutral I would expect it to be a comfortable night for Man Utd.
“We have got to make it as uncomfortable as possible for them.”
The game is the first of two tricky trips across the Pennines this week with the Blades also playing at Manchester City on Saturday.
Wilder at least takes encouragement from his side’s performances against the two Manchester clubs earlier this season and feels their attitude and endeavour can give them a chance.
He said: “Both are incredible football clubs but, even this year, when we’ve not got the results we wanted, they’ve not been runaway victories at our place for Manchester City and Manchester United. Looking at the reaction from both teams, they’ll have been delighted to get the results they did.
“It’s up to us to try to close the gap, which obviously an enormous one, on the pitch.
“Regardless of what happens between now and the end of the season I will not judge the players on their attitude, their body language.
“We are doing bits and pieces right. We have to take all the good things from those performances and take them into Old Trafford and the Etihad.”
Wilder accepts time is running out for his side to preserve their top-flight status but he is not giving up the fight.
He said: “Of course we have to pick up some results to close the gap – and for pride and respectability – and we’ll only do that showing the identity that has been at the forefront of what we have tried to achieve over the last four-and-a-half years.
“We have to produce something special to get out of the position we are in, statistics and history are all stacked against us.
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 23, 2021
“One result can galvanise and kickstart that but to get that result you have to show the qualities I spoke about and put in a performance.
“I can’t affect the form Man Utd are in or the players we are up against. All we can do is control our team, our attitude and the way we go about it.
“Without being defeatist, if it’s their night and they play to the top of their ability it is going to be a really tough night for us, but we hope that is not the case and we flip that around. We will be doing all we can to try to affect that.”